Politics

White House Team Might Still Head to North Korea Summit Site

Trump, Kim Jong Un talk about reviving nuclear talks

South Koreans watch a television broadcast reporting the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meet Chinese President Xi Jinping at Seoul Railway Station on March 28 in Seoul, South Korea. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

A White House “advance team” slated to head to Singapore in preparation for the president’s canceled summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un might still make the trip.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders on Friday left open the possibility and reiterated that President Donald Trump still wants to meet with Kim about a nuclear disarmament pact. That came one day after Trump canceled the June 12 meeting, concluding the North’s change in behavior from receptive to chilly to hostile meant Kim had gotten cold feet.

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“We’ll see. We still have a few hours before that takes place,” Sanders told a group of reporters, referring to the advance team’s trip, which was scheduled to be led by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin.

“We’re always going to be prepared. If the meeting takes place on June 12, we’ll be ready, if it takes place on July 12, we’ll be ready,” Sanders said during the impromptu gaggle. “We’ll continue to have conversations, we’ll continue to have close contact with our partners and allies.”

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That was different from what one of her deputies, Hogan Gidley, had said a few hours earlier. He told reporters there was no plan at that time for the Hagin-led team to fly to Singapore.

Whether that planning trip is on or not, the president and White House officials made clear Friday that while the June 12 date appears off the table, a Trump-Kim summit remains possible.

Trump used a morning tweet to react to an overnight statement from Pyongyang in which it praised him for even being willing to hold one-on-one talks. He called that statement “very good news” and “warm” and “productive.”

Correction 2:27 p.m. | An earlier version of this story misspelled the last name of White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin.

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