White House team to leave for Singapore to prep for possible North Korea summit

White House team to leave for Singapore to prep for possible North Korea summit

WASHINGTON: A White House team will leave as scheduled for Singapore this weekend to prepare for a possible summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, a White House spokeswoman said on Saturday (May 26).

Politico magazine had reported earlier that an advance team of 30 White House and State Department officials were preparing to depart later this weekend.

This comes after Trump called off the summit with Kim on Thursday, blaming "open hostility" from the North Korean regime and warning Pyongyang against committing any "foolish or reckless acts".

Pyongyang later described this decision as "extremely regrettable".

On Friday, Trump said that the US was having "productive talks" about reinstating a Jun 12 summit in Singapore.

Despite the uncertainty around the summit, Trump said in a tweet on Saturday that his administration is unified in its approach to North Korea.

"There is ZERO disagreement within the Trump Administration as to how to deal with North Korea ... and if there was, it wouldn't matter," the President wrote on Twitter.

The statement follows media reports of a rift between Trump national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over the US' strategy on North Korea, as the two countries approach a possible summit between Trump and Kim.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in also held a surprise meeting with Kim on Saturday to ensure the Trump-Kim summit goes off successfully, South Korean officials said.

The meet between Moon and Kim is the clearest sign yet that the on-again off-again summit is likely to be held as initially agreed.

Source: Agencies/aa(aj)