US President Donald Trump's cancellation of the planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un reportedly caught South Korea's president by surprise, and he's called an emergency meeting at midnight, local time.
Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the ruling Workers' Party's Central Committee and formerly head of a top North Korean military intelligence agency, will meet Pompeo later this week.
A team led by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin is scheduled to be in Singapore this weekend, meeting with North Korean officials to plan for the June 12 summit.
"Since the President's May 24th letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the North Koreans have been engaging", Sanders said in the statement.
His comments came after North Korea said Kim was "fixed" on holding the summit with Trump, raising hopes the historic meeting might still take place after a turbulent few days of diplomatic brinkmanship.
Trump thinks "ongoing discussions are going very well", White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.
"During the South Korea-U.S. summit, President Trump said the U.S.is willing to clearly put an end to hostile relations (between the U.S. and North Korea) and help (the North) achieve economic prosperity if North Korea conducts denuclearization", he said.
The tensions have once again cooled in the wake of Trump's letter and Trump has made clear he is eager for the summit to take place on June 12 - but USA officials have warned publicly and privately that they would be strained to reschedule the summit for that date.
Mr Kim Yong Chol, vice-chairman of North Korea's Workers' Party's Central Committee, was scheduled to fly to the USA today after speaking to Chinese officials in Beijing, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said, citing a source. Kim Young Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to NY.
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Abe was speaking on Friday to reporters in Russian Federation, where he is scheduled to meet President Vladimir Putin on Saturday.
Analysts believe the US side will be seeking to determine whether North Korea is willing to agree on sufficient steps towards denuclearisation to allow a summit to take place. South Korean media speculated that Pompeo could make a third trip to Pyongyang and that Kim Yong Chol was carrying a personal letter from Kim Jong Un and might push to travel to Washington to meet with Trump.
The North Korean envoy was travelling to the USA after speaking to Chinese officials in Beijing, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said.
"Let's not forget that it's been President Trump who's linked trade issues and addressing North Korea's nuclear program in the past", says Bonnie Glaser, a senior adviser for Asia at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington. He said there is a "lot of good will" and denuclearization of the Korean peninsula would be "a great thing".
In this May 26, 2018 photo provided on May 27, 2018, by South Korea Presidential Blue House, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, right, talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, center, during a meeting at the northern side of Panmunjom in North Korea.
The meetings are expected to continue on Monday and Tuesday and are focused on the issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons programme, it said. Any visit to the United States would indicate a waiver was granted.
Kim Yong Chol served in the military police in the demilitarized zone on the border of the two Koreas.
South Korea's Yonhap News Agency, citing an unnamed source, on Tuesday reported that a separate U.S.