The White House on Tuesday said President Donald Trump's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is still "expected" to happen in Singapore — just five days after Trump stunned the world by canceling it.
"The United States continues to actively prepare for President Trump's expected summit with leader Kim in Singapore," White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.
Trump wrote Kim last week, accusing his government of "tremendous anger and open hostility" in recent statements about the U.S. He also hinted at a possible nuclear showdown: "You talk about your nuclear capabilities, but ours are so massive and powerful that I pray to God they will never have to be used."
But it appeared Tuesday that the situation had rapidly swung back the other way.
Sanders also said Tuesday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would meet later this week with top Kim Jong Un aide Kim Yong Chol, who is traveling to New York. Kim Yong Chol is a former spy chief for the communist dictatorship and has been actively involved in talks between North and South Korea.
Trump's engagement with North Korea, the only country to test nuclear weapons this century, has been volatile. Last year, he and Kim Jong Un exchanged insults and threats, while North Korea persisted in testing missiles, some of which flew over the northern regions of U.S. ally Japan.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in, however, has sought to improve relations with his country's northern neighbor, while also seeking to smooth things out between Trump and Kim. Trump's announcement last week that the summit was off came as a surprise to Moon's government, which scrambled to get things back on track.
Since then, talks between the Trump administration and North Korea have resumed, while Moon and Kim held their second meeting.
Sanders also confirmed that Trump would meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on June 7 at the White House.
Trump's meeting with Kim was originally scheduled for June 12. There was no mention of a date in Sanders' statement Tuesday.
Here are other details about summit preparation released by the White House on Tuesday:
- A U.S. delegation continues to meet with North Korean officials in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. The American delegation consists of Sung Kim, U.S. ambassador to the Philippines; Allison Hooker, director for Korea at the National Security Council; and Randy Schriver, assistant secretary of Defense for Asian and Pacific security affairs at the Department of Defense.
- Deputy White House chief of staff Joe Hagin is in Singapore with a pre-advance team "coordinating the logistics of the expected summit."
- National security advisor John Bolton, a North Korea hard-liner, has been speaking with counterparts in Japan and South Korea "virtually every day."