WORLD Washington sees "signs of progress" for expected Trump-Kim meeting

WORLD

Washington sees "signs of progress" for expected Trump-Kim meeting

Xinhua

11:00, May 30, 2018

After recent twists and turns and the whirlwind of diplomacy over the weekend, Washington Tuesday said there were "signs of progress" for the expected meeting between the leaders of the United States and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK).

"The president (Donald Trump) thinks that the ongoing discussions are going very well," White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Tuesday afternoon.

The meetings taking place this week were "certainly signs of progress," the spokeswoman added.

Earlier in the day, the White House announced that Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the DPRK's ruling Workers' Party of Korea Central Committee, is heading to New York and will meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The US State Department later said that Pompeo will travel to New York on Wednesday for the meeting, which will be the third meeting between the two senior officials, following their talks during Pompeo's visits to the DPRK in April and May.

"They've had obviously very deep conversations," State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said at a briefing on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, a US delegation, headed by US veteran diplomat Sung Kim, was meeting with the DPRK officials at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), with more meetings expected later this week, according to a White House statement on the same day.

The statement also noted that a US pre-advance team, led by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin, is currently in Singapore coordinating the logistics of the expected meeting between Trump and the DPRK top leader Kim Jong Un.

"I think there is a reasonable chance the summit will take place," Brookings Institution Senior Fellow Darrell West told Xinhua, saying that the DPRK, South Korea, the United States, and China "have invested considerable time and effort in making the summit possible so each has an incentive to keep the conversation open."

For Trump, it's also an opportunity to "make a historic foreign policy breakthrough," Dan Mahaffee, senior vice president and director of policy at the Center for the Study of Congress and the Presidency, told Xinhua.

The latest positive progress for the summit, originally scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, came after Trump canceled the meeting in a letter to Kim Jong Un on Thursday, citing "tremendous anger and open hostility" displayed by Pyongyang recently.

Pyongyang had warned Washington that it might cancel the summit because of provocative anti-DPRK remarks by top US officials.

In response to Trump's letter, the DPRK's First Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye Gwan said early Friday that the country is ready to sit down with the United States any time in any manner for talks to solve the problems existing between them.

Trump then reversed course, saying both sides wanted the meeting to happen and it could still go ahead after productive talks. He also confirmed on Sunday that a U.S. official team had arrived in the DPRK to talk about the preparation for talks.

"Hopefully, despite the statements of President Trump and other administration officials, dialogue can continue to lessen tensions, but with a realistic understanding of what are likely outcomes," Mahaffee said.

Amid certain optimism, Washington also remained alert for any possible future reverse.

"We're moving forward, and we'll be prepared either way," Sanders told reporters. 

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