Trump sees 'brilliant potential' for N. Korea as summit prep continues

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The Washington Post reported that the group was being led by Sung King, the USA ambassador to the Philippines, who formerly served as U.S. envoy to South Korea and as a nuclear negotiator with the North. It said the Americans met with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui.

"You know, what does denuclearization mean?" There is still uncertainty surrounding the meeting.

At least that's what the senior East Asia director on the White House National Security Council, Matt Pottinger, told reporters during a press briefing last week. Pentagon official Randall Schriver is also in Seoul now, the Post said. However, it could not be immediately confirmed whether he was the Pentagon official involved in Sunday's talks.

A TV screen in the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea shows file footage of U.S. President Donald Trump, right, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program on Saturday, May 26, 2018.

"I support the letter that President Trump sent to Kim Jong Un, I think it was a good thing to do", Clapper said.

Moon raised the suggestion again on Sunday, one day after he held a second, surprise meeting with 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", Moon said. But he declined to define "complete denuclearization", and he acknowledged that significant obstacles remain.

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During his two hour meeting with Kim, Moon said he urged both Washington and Pyongyang "to remove misunderstandings through direct communication and to have sufficient dialogue in advance through working-level negotiations on the agendas to be agreed upon at the summit". So I think both sides have true incentives to sit down.

Sung Kim, who was born in South Korea, was a key diplomat in the 2005 six-party talks.

The North has previously used the term to demand the United States pull out its 28,500 troops in South Korea and withdraw its so-called nuclear umbrella security commitment to South Korea and Japan.

Seeking a denuclearisation deal with North Korea was a top priority for a leader who came to the White House on a political promise of putting "America first" while withdrawing from global agreements on climate change and Iran. The daughter of a former premier, she is also thought to have direct access to Kim Jong Un. "The biggest challenge is for the worldwide community to jointly prevent North Korea from evading sanctions", Kono told reporters during a visit to Yamagata Prefecture in northeastern Japan. The United States has been pushing for "complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement" - a high bar that would require North Korea to relinquish its entire nuclear program and allow global inspectors to verify this.

"This is how progress is made, and the best chance to have a summit, and one that yields meaningful outcomes", Narang told the Washington Post - though he and many other experts continue to point out that if the Trump administration expects North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons as part of any deal, they are going to be disappointed.

Still, it might be able to narrow the gap.