North Korea top officials flying to US

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President Donald Trump said Sunday a U.S. team was in North Korea to plan a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, raising expectations that the on-off-on meeting would indeed take place.

Sung Kim met with North Korea's Vice-Foreign minister Choe Son Hui, who said last week that Pyongyang was "reconsidering" the talks, the daily said.

"Our United States team has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the Summit between Kim Jong Un and myself", he tweeted. Kim Jong Un agrees with me on this.

Before cancelling the summit last week, Mr Trump said that China had eased up enforcement of sanctions on its border.

A statement from North Korea's state news agency, KCNA, said Kim expressed "his fixed will" on the possibility of meeting Trump as previously planned.

A USA delegation was in North Korea to prepare for a potential Trump-Kim summit, the State Department said Sunday.

American and North Korean officials have been engaged in ongoing talks, according to Fox.

"We are still waiting to see how they come out, but depending on their outcome, the president could join [Trump and Kim] in Singapore", the official told news outlet Yonhap.

In Tokyo, Abe told reporters he was briefed by Trump about recent developments regarding the summit, but did not elaborate.

"The president and prime minister affirmed the shared imperative of achieving the complete and permanent dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missile programmes".

What did happen was a surprise summit between the leaders of North and South Korea on Saturday, and it began with a vigorous bear hug in front of the cameras.

And on Sunday, the U.S. State Department said American and North Korean officials had met at Panmunjom.

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Pictures from the summit showed Mr Moon and Mr Kim shaking hands as well as embracing, and revealed Mr Kim brought along his sister, Kim Yo Jung. Moon said Sunday that the North's disarmament could still be a hard process even if Pyongyang, Washington and Seoul don't differ over what "complete denuclearization" of the peninsula means.

Trump on Thursday scrapped the summit after repeated threats by North Korea to pull out over what it saw as confrontational remarks by U.S. officials demanding unilateral disarmament. The US President confirmed that a team of US officials was indeed in Korea to arrange the details of the summit.

"You know, what does denuclearization mean?"

The second outcome would see the billionaire and the despot agree to a "staggered agreement" to reduce threats and tensions, which may include the North reducing its nuclear arsenal, while also seeing a reduction in USA military presence on the Korean peninsula. And I think these talks can produce results.

Pentagon official Randall Schriver was part of the U.S. team, the official said.

For now, Moon has maintained an appearance as a neutral middleman who can bridge the gap between Trump and Kim, two reactive leaders who create a high risk of miscalculation. "But he wants to give off this perception that he's this open leader, that he's peaceful, that he's reasonable".

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in said on Monday there could be more impromptu talks with North Korea including summits between pre-arranged dialogue.

Kim may see a meeting with Trump as necessary to easing pressure from crushing sanctions and to winning security assurances in a region surrounded by enemies. "I am hopeful that Secretary [of State Mike] Pompeo will brief and engage Congress".

This weekend President Trump seemed to reverse himself, saying plans for the summit were still moving forward. The teams, led by seasoned American officials, hope to determine what Kim is willing to agree to should he meet with Trump next month. "What's unclear for Chairman Kim, in my opinion, is not his willingness for denuclearization but whether he can certainly trust the US saying that it'll end hostile relations and guarantee the security of his regime after his denuclearization".

"Having gone this far, there is value in meeting and greeting, gripping and grinning, and just establishing a rapport", he said.

⦁ This article was based in part on wire-service reports.

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