Trump: Summit still on, US officials traveled Sunday to North Korea to start preparations

Trump: Summit still on, US officials traveled Sunday to North Korea to start preparations
In this handout image provided by South Korean Presidential Blue House, South Korean President Moon Jae-in (L) shake hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un (R) before their meeting on May 26, 2018 in Panmunjom, North Korea. North and South Korean leaders held the surprise second summit after U.S. President Donald Trump cancelled the meeting with Kim Jong-un scheduled for June 12. Trump has since indicated that the meeting could take place, after all. (South Korean Presidential Blue House/Getty Images)

President Donald Trump said Saturday that the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month is still on. His comment was backed up by reports of Trump administration officials traveling to North Korea on Sunday to begin preparations for the summit.

Has the summit date changed?

“We’re looking at June 12th in Singapore. That hasn’t changed,” Trump said during press conference late Saturday with Josh Holt, the American who was held as a prisoner in Venezuela since 2016.

Trump said the North Korean summit is still happening, even though he announced Thursday that it was cancelled.

During the Saturday photo-op, Trump recognized Holt and asked Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) and others to speak about the work involved in getting Holt freed, according to published reports.

Trump then addressed the summit.

“We are doing very well in terms of the summit with North Korea,” Trump said. “Looks like it’s going along very well. As you know, there are meetings going on as we speak in a certain location which I won’t name, but you’d like the location. It’s not so far away from here.”

He added: “It’s moving along nicely. We are looking at June 12 in Singapore. That hasn’t changed. It’s moving along pretty well. So we’ll see what happens.”

Trump suggested Friday on Twitter that the summit is still going to happen. On Thursday, he tweeted that it was cancelled.

What happened Sunday?

On Sunday, a team of U.S. officials visited North Korea to help prepare for the summit.

Sung Kim, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea and former nuclear negotiator with the North, is helping to make preparations, the Washington Post reported.

“He crossed the line that separates the two Koreas to meet with Choe Son Hui, the North Korean vice foreign minister who said last week that Pyongyang was ‘reconsidering’ the talks,” WaPo reported. “Kim and Choe know each other well — both were part of their respective delegations that negotiated the 2005 denuclearization agreement through the six-party framework.”

Kim is joined by Allison Hooker, a Korea specialist on the National Security Council, and an official from the Defense Department.

On March 8, the White House confirmed Trump was planning to meet with Kim. The goal of the summit is to “de-nuclearize” North Korea, according to published reports.