Top North Korean officials travel to U.S., Singapore in summit preparations


The North Korean side is led by Kim Chang Son, who effectively serves as chief of staff to Kim Jong Un.

A heightened level of presidential urgency is spurring discussions among American and North Korean counterparts two weeks ahead of an off-again, on-again summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

USA and North Korean officials met again Monday at the Korean demilitarized zone.

The risk-on in US stock futures comes as the State Department confirmed reports that a USA delegation is meeting with North Korean officials to prepare for the summit, which had been set for June 12 in Singapore.

At the White House, Trump said negotiations over a potential June 12 summit with Kim that he had earlier canceled were "going along very well".

Trump sent a letter to Kim on Thursday announcing he would no longer meeting with him on the scheduled date of June 12, following the publication of a series of belligerent remarks by North Korean officials against Vice President Mike Pence and National Security Advisor John Bolton. "It will happen!" Trump added.

Separately, an advance team headed by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin is in Singapore making logistical plans for the summit, should it go ahead.

"What's more important than anything from the latest inter-Korean summit was that the leaders easily got in contact, easily made an appointment and easily met to discuss urgent matters, without complicated procedures and formalities, just like a casual meeting", Moon told a meeting with senior secretaries. His visit to the United States would indicate a waiver was granted.

"A USA delegation is in ongoing talks with North Korean officials at Panmunjom", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said, referring to a village in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ).

"Well, I hope that's where we come out", Hayden said.

The report said meetings with Sum's group would continue through Tuesday at Unification House, in the northern part of the demilitarized zone.

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On the Korean Peninsula, a surprise meeting between Mr. Kim and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea also produced some progress toward a meeting.

Moon acknowledged Pyongyang and Washington may have differing expectations of what denuclearisation means and he urged both sides to hold working-level talks to resolve their differences.

'The President and Prime Minister affirmed the shared imperative of achieving the complete and permanent dismantlement of North Koreas nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and ballistic missile programs, ' the statement said. Pyongyang has rejected unilateral disarmament and has always couched its language in terms of denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

Today's price action suggests investors are betting on a meeting between the US and North Korean leaders.

It has also remained highly sceptical about North Korea's intentions, reminding the United States that the North has signed and reneged on multiple previous nuclear deals.

- So is it going to happen?

"What is unclear to Chairman Kim Jong Un is not the will for denuclearisation, but the concern that if (North Korea) denuclearises, whether the U.S. can end hostile relations and guarantee the security of the (Kim) regime", Mr Moon said.

On May 24, Trump had called off the summit citing "open hostility" from the North.

For a successful summit, "there's got to be a lot negotiated in advance - and none of that was happening", by USA officials, said Victor Cha, former director for Asian Affairs at the National Security Council during the second Bush Administration, on NBC's "Meet the Press" yesterday.

The US, along with the United Nations, has imposed numerous large-scale sanctions on North Korea, cutting off much of its foreign income.

Libyan dictator Moammar Qaddafi agreed in 2003 to give up his weapons of mass destruction, including nuclear arms, in return for sanctions relief.