A delegation of U.S. officials crossed into the North on Sunday to hold preparatory talks on a previously-canceled summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean Kim Jong Un, the State Department confirmed.
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.
His remarks came as South Korean President Moon Jae In said yesterday that Mr Kim was still committed to denuclearisation after their surprise meeting on Saturday.
A "pre-advance" team of United States officials was also travelling to Singapore to meet with North Koreans there, the White House said. Sung Kim, the former United States ambassador to South Korea who is now ambassador to the Philippines, led that American delegation, a USA official told Reuters.
Moon said he told Kim that Trump has a "firm resolve" to end hostile relations with North Korea and initiate economic cooperation if Kim implements "complete denuclearization".
He also accompanied Kim Jong Un on both of his recent trips to China to meet President Xi Jinping and held talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he travelled to Pyongyang. USA officials said the most likely document would provide a framework for future negotiations, without going into great detail about what North Korea might be willing to give up or what steps the United States would take in exchange.
The Washington Post reported that senior diplomat Sung Kim was leading the USA delegation, and that the two sides planned to continue talking Monday and Tuesday.
US President Donald Trump
The two officials know each other well - both were part of their respective delegations that negotiated the 2005 denuclearization agreement through the six-party framework.
North Korea has rejected the US's demand for it to unilaterally abandon its nuclear weapons programme.
USA lawmakers said that while renewed discussions about the Trump-Kim summit are a positive step, the US can't give away too much and should be wary of any supposed commitments coming from Mr. Kim.
"Chairman Kim and I have agreed that the June 12 summit should be held successfully, and that our quest for the Korean peninsula's denuclearisation and a perpetual peace regime should not be halted", Mr Moon said.
The apparent introduction of Gen Kim to negotiations would be significant, as it would underline North Korea's desire to ensure the talks go ahead.
Kim, in a dispatch issued by the North's state-run news service earlier Sunday, "expressed his fixed will on the historic (North Korea)-US summit talks". Yet over the longer term, Mr Moon's desire to cut a peace deal with North Korea during his single five-year term means Mr Trump could find it harder to enforce his "maximum pressure" campaign if talks break down again.
On May 24, Trump suddenly announced that the United States is pulling out of the planned summit, citing "tremendous anger" and "open hostility" displayed by the hermit kingdom.
Despite Kim's apparent eagerness for a summit with Trump, there are lingering doubts about whether he will fully relinquish his nuclear weapons, which he may see as his only guarantee of survival.
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