U.S. Officials Enter North Korea To Prepare For Summit

South Korea Presidential Blue House AP Images

Although North Korea and the United States have not confirmed the date of the meeting after the cancellation of the first summit that was to be held in June, preparations are in full swing by both parties to make arrangements for the unscheduled meeting.

On Sunday, a team of U.S. officials entered North Korea to discuss the unscheduled summit.

According to a report by the Washington Post, Sung Kim, former U.S. ambassador to South Korea and former nuclear negotiator with the North, was called in from his posting as envoy to the Philippines to lead the preparations.

Kim crossed the line that separates the two Koreas to meet with Choe Son Hui, the North Korean vice foreign minister, who said last week that North Korea will reconsider the talks with the United States.

Kim was joined by Allison Hooker, the Korea specialist on the National Security Council, and an official from the Defense Department. Randall Schriver, the assistant secretary of defense for East Asia who accompanied Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang earlier this month, is also in South Korea.

According to sources who spoke to the Washington Post, The meetings are expected to continue Monday and Tuesday.

During the unexpected meeting between Kim Jong-Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-In on Sunday, the North Korean leader said that he is keen on talking to President Donald Trump. He reportedly said that North Korea is committed to “complete denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula.

President Moon Jae-In, who is playing the role of a mediator, is optimistic that the summit will end on a positive note. One of the biggest challenges is the lack of trust between North Korea and the U.S., says South Korean President.

President Trump had called off the first summit because diplomats on the North Korean side verbally attacked Vice-President Mike Pence for comparison of Pyongyang to Libya. However, after Saturday’s meeting with President Moon Jae-In, Kim Jong-Un is looking forward to meeting Trump.

On Friday night, Trump tweeted the following.

On Saturday, President Trump confirmed that working-level meetings were continuing. “As you know there are meetings going on as we speak in a certain location which I won’t name, but you’d like the location,” he said.

Meanwhile, another American team led by Joe Hagin, deputy chief of staff in the White House, is organizing logistics with Kim Chang Son, who is the North Korean leader’s chief of staff.