Trump-Kim summit to take place at 9 am on 12 June: White House
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders says President Donald Trump is receiving daily briefings for the 12 June US-North Korea summit
Washington: The preparations for the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un next Tuesday in Singapore are going well with “significant progress” made, the White House said on Tuesday, painting an upbeat picture of the unprecedented meeting.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the two leaders would first meet at 9:00 am local time (6:30 am IST) and that President Trump was receiving daily briefings from his national security team.
With just one week to go to the summit, hosted by Singapore, very few details have been publicly confirmed. It remains unclear exactly where in the city state the two leaders will meet.
But Washington has made it clear that sanctions would not be lifted against North Korea unless it gave up its nuclear weapons.
Commenting on the upcoming summit, Sanders said, “I can tell you the president has been receiving daily briefings on North Korea from his national security team, and I can also tell you the schedule tentatively, for that first meeting will be on 12 June at 9:00 AM Singapore time, and take place 11 June, 9:00 PM East Coast time.”
The Trump administration, she said, is actively preparing for the summit between the US President and the North Korean leader.
There was initially much uncertainty over whether the summit would go ahead at all, and it was briefly called off last month by Trump after a dispute with the North Koreans.
“The advance team in Singapore is finalising logistical preparations and will remain in place until the summit begins. In the Demilitarised Zone, the US Ambassador’s delegation continues diplomatic negotiations with the North Korean delegation. Discussions have been very positive, and significant progress has been made,” Sanders said.
Last week, Trump met with a top North Korean official at the White House to plan for the summit. Kim Yong Chol, a top aide of Kim handed over to Trump a letter from the North Korean leader.
“I am not going to get into the specifics of the letter, but as the president said, they were interesting, and we feel like things are continuing to move forward, and good progress has been made, and we’re continuing to prepare for the president’s summit,” Sanders said.
When asked whether Trump supports a meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Kim, she said the focus of the administration right now was the President’s meeting with the North Korean leader.
“And the President will make his views known directly to him when we’re in Singapore, and our focus will continue to be on denuclearisation,” Sanders said.
Responding to a question on “maximum pressure” policy on North Korea, the press secretary said the US policy towards Pyongyang has not changed.
Trump has credited his “maximum pressure” policy with bringing North Korea to the negotiating table. “Our policy hasn’t changed. And as the president stated, we have sanctions on. They’re very powerful, and we would not take those sanctions off unless North Korea denuclearises,” she said.