31 May 2018 07:58:58 IST

Pompeo, N Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol begin meeting in NY

US President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un will meet in Singapore on June 12

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol began meeting today in New York, which is expected to pave the way for a historic summit meeting between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un in Singapore on June 12.

“Pompeo has arrived in New York for meetings with North Korea Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol as we continue to actively prepare for Trump’s potential summit with North Korean Chairman Kim in Singapore and emphasize our commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

The talks are expected to continue on Thursday.

White House Press Secretary Sarah sanders said the administration is preparing and expects the summit to take place on June 12 in Singapore.

“And we’ll be ready, if it does, on June 12. And if it’s not, then we’ll be ready if it takes place on July 12,” she told reporters at her daily news conference.

The United States, she said, is continuing to prepare for the meeting between the President and the North Korean leader.

“If it happens, we’ll certainly be ready,” she said.

Pompeo and Kim Yong would be having a full day of meetings on Thursday as well.

“The advance team, led by Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin, met with the North Korean team in Singapore earlier today, and again expect to do so tomorrow. We want to thank our strategic partner in Singapore, who’s been incredibly generous in agreeing to host the summit. And the President is very appreciative of Prime Minister Lee (Hsien Loong) for all of their efforts,” Sanders said.

At the demilitarised zone (DMZ), the US delegation, led by Ambassador Sung Kim, met with North Korean officials earlier today as well, she said.

“Their talks will continue. So far, the readout from these meetings has been positive, and we’ll continue to move forward in them,” the White House press secretary said.

The conversation, she said, is going to be focused on denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.

“That’s what these ongoing conversations taking place now will be centred on, as well as the summit that would take place in Singapore. As long as that is part of the discussion, we’re going to continue to shoot for June 12 and expect to do that,” Sanders said.