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Summit whiplash: Trump, North Korea leader Kim Jong Un 'actively prepare' to meet after cancellation

Trump moved to delay tougher sanctions against North Korea after progress in ongoing dialogue between the two countries, according to a report.
by Dartunorro Clark /  / Updated 
Image: A pedestrian walks in front of a screen in Tokyo on May 25, 2018 flashing a news report relating to U.S. President Donald Trump cancelling his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
A screen in Tokyo flashed a news report of President Trump's decision to cancel his meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Last Thursday, North Korea declared it had "completely" dismantled its nuclear test site, in a carefully choreographed move portrayed as a goodwill gesture to the U.S.Behrouz Mehri / AFP - Getty Images

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Washington and Pyongyang are preparing to revive a meeting between their two leaders, the White House said Tuesday.

Press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders tweeted that the administration continues to "actively prepare" for the summit and that the North Koreans are "engaging" after President Donald Trump last week abruptly scrapped a planned June 12 meeting in Singapore.

Trump unexpectedly canceled the summit, citing provocative comments from Kim Jong Un, the North's leader, but left the door open that a meeting could still happen.

Sanders said Tuesday that Trump will be with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on June 7, another signal that a summit is a possibility.

Trump also moved to delay putting in place new tougher sanctions against North Korea, which were set to be implemented Tuesday, after the administration saw progress in the ongoing dialogue between the two countries over the weekend, according to The Wall Street Journal, which cited a U.S. official with knowledge of the talks.

The president announced in a tweet on Tuesday that Kim Yong Chol, one of Kim Jong Un's top lieutenants, is slated to arrive in New York as talks to revive a summit are underway.

"We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea. Meetings are currently taking place concerning Summit, and more," Trump tweeted Tuesday. "Kim Young (sic) Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to New York. Solid response to my letter, thank you!"

On Sunday a U.S. delegation led by U.S. Ambassador Sung Kim met with North Korean officials in the truce village of Panmunjom to "make arrangements for the Summit between Kim Jong Un and myself," the president tweeted that day, adding that North Korea "has brilliant potential" and a summit "will happen!"

South Korea president Moon Jae-in also had a surprise meeting Saturday with Kim in Panmunjom, according to The Associated Press. He said Kim was committed to meeting with Trump and to a "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula."

Yonhap, a South Korean news agency, reported that there was a possibility that Moon could travel to Singapore within the next month to mediate a three-way summit with Trump and Kim, depending on the success of the talks between the U.S. and North Korea. The trip would likely be made around the original June 12 meeting, according to an unnamed official who spoke to Yonhap.

Kellyanne Conway, a senior adviser to the president, told Fox News on Tuesday that the American delegation is "making the diplomatic preparations" for a June 12 meeting.

Conway credited the letter Trump sent last week announcing the cancellation of the summit for getting the "kinetic energy going."

"But, as the president says, if it doesn't happen June 12 then it could happen thereafter," Conway said. "Let’s see what happens, as the president says. If he’s satisfied it would go forward."

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