U.S. officials visit North Korea to revive Trump meeting with Kim Jong Un - MRCAESAR.COM


Sunday, 27 May 2018

U.S. officials visit North Korea to revive Trump meeting with Kim Jong Un

President Trump says his administration is still trying to plan a meeting with Kim Jong Un. (MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)
President Trump on Sunday said U.S. officials were in North Korea to plan a summit with Kim Jong Un, reviving the possibility that the sitdown scrapped last week may happen at some point after all.
The State Department said earlier that a team was in Panmunjom, which straddles the border inside the demilitarized zone, or DMZ, separating North and South Korea.
Trump withdrew Thursday from a June 12 Singapore summit with Kim, but he quickly said it could get back on track. On Sunday afternoon he tweeted praise for the longtime U.S. foe.
"Our United States team has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the Summit between Kim Jong Un and myself," he tweeted. "I truly believe North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic and financial Nation one day. Kim Jong Un agrees with me on this. It will happen!"
Earlier Sunday, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said North Korea will never get rid of its nuclear weapons — and Kim's conciliatory gestures to the international community are just a "show."
"I remain convinced that he does not want to denuclearize, in fact he will not denuclearize," Rubio, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said on ABC's "This Week."
Rubio dismissed recent concessions by the North Koreans, including releasing three Americans who had been held captive by the regime and blowing up a site used for nuclear testing.
Kim Jong Un provides guidance on a nuclear weapons program in this undated photo. (KCNA/REUTERS)
"It's all a show. It's a show," he said. "Released three Americans that were innocently there, blew up a facility that was probably already damaged ... Plus here's the bigger point, the facility he blew up was a testing site. He can test (nuclear weapons) anywhere. They don't have to have a town hall meeting in North Korea to decide whether to test weapons, he can test them anywhere."
Trump, in calling off the hotly anticipated sitdown with Kim that was scheduled for Singapore, wrote the North Korean leader and blamed "open hostility" from Pyongyang for the cancellation. The U.S. and North Korea have in fact been hostile to each other for decades.
But since then, the White House has gone back and forth on whether the meeting will in fact happen.
Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines who was formerly ambassador to South Korea and a nuclear negotiator with the North, is leading the preparations, according to The Washington Post.
A separate advance team is also traveling to Singapore to make logistical preparations for a possible meeting.
Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in had a surprise two-hour meeting on Saturday, and Moon said his northern counterpart is still committed to "complete denuclearization." He said both Korean leaders agreed the summit with Trump should go forward.
“I remain convinced that he does not want to denuclearize, in fact he will not denuclearize,” Rubio said. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
South Korea, which has acted as a mediator between Kim and Trump, had been blindsided by the decision to cancel.
Rubio credited the flip-flopping with throwing the North Korean regime "off balance."
"They are usually the ones that (are) out there doing this sort of dramatic action and this sort of unpredictable action that set everybody off," he said. "The President has given him a taste of his own medicine."
Former CIA director Michael Hayden also said Sunday he does not believe that a dismantling of the North Korean nuclear arsenal will happen.
"These folks are not going to get rid of all their nuclear weapons," he told "This Week," adding that Trump should set a more modest goal if he goes ahead with the sitdown.
"If President Trump's brand, and that's the right word here, going into this meeting demands something like that, this is going to end up in a very bad place," Hayden said.
"I think the realistic expectation for the meeting is that you do something at the beginning, not the end of a process, that you begin to stabilize the Korean problem, not solve it."
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