US officials enter North Korea for talks on summit

President Donald Trump confirmed working-level meetings were continuing. He was speaking at the White House on Saturday, where he met US missionary Josh Holt, who was released by Venezuela after being held since 2016. His release was just secured rec
President Donald Trump confirmed working-level meetings were continuing. He was speaking at the White House on Saturday, where he met US missionary Josh Holt, who was released by Venezuela after being held since 2016. His release was just secured recently.PHOTO: REUTERS

SEOUL • A team of US officials crossed into North Korea yesterday for talks to prepare for a summit between President Donald Trump and Mr Kim Jong Un, as both sides pressed ahead with arrangements despite the question marks hanging over the meeting.

Mr Sung Kim, a former US am-bassador to South Korea and former nuclear negotiator with the North, has been called in from his posting as envoy to the Philippines to lead the preparations, according to a person familiar with the arrangements.

He crossed the line that separates the two Koreas to meet Ms Choe Son Hui, the North Korean Vice-Foreign Minister who said last week that Pyongyang was reconsidering the talks.

Mr Sung Kim and Ms Choe know each other well - both were part of the delegations that negotiated the 2005 denuclearisation agreement through the six-party framework.

The meetings are expected to continue today and tomorrow.

The team is focused on the substance of any summit between the two leaders - the issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.

Mr Trump confirmed on Saturday 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 would like the location," he told reporters in Washington.

WASHINGTON POST

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 28, 2018, with the headline 'US officials enter North Korea for talks on summit'. Print Edition | Subscribe