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White House sending team to Singapore despite canceled North Korea summit

White House sending team to Singapore despite canceled North Korea summit

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Saturday held a surprise meeting aimed at strengthening inter-Korean ties amid uncertainty over the future of a planned summit between the United States and North Korea.

Trump scrapped the meeting, planned for Singapore, in a letter to Kim on Thursday after repeated threats by North Korea to pull out over what it saw as confrontational remarks by USA officials demanding unilateral disarmament.

Presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan said Moon would reveal more details about the outcome of the meeting on Sunday morning. "That tells you how much Koreans want peace on the peninsula".

It also said Kim and Moon agreed to hold high-level talks between their two nations on June 1, and to take steps to quickly implement their efforts to denuclearize the peninsula.

In previous, failed talks, North Korea said it could consider giving up its arsenal if Washington removed its troops from South Korea and withdrew its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from South Korea and Japan.

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Footage released by the Blue House on Twitter, accompanied by a dramatic orchestral score, showed Moon arriving in a convoy of cars and first shaking hands with Kim's sister Kim Yo Jong, who has played a major public role in recent talks with the South, including leading a delegation across the border during February's Winter Olympics.

By Friday, North Korea issued a statement saying it was still "willing to give the USA time and opportunities" to reconsider talks "at any time, at any format".

In a letter to Kim, Trump blamed Pyongyang for his decision to call off the summit, and warned North Korea against committing any "foolish or reckless acts" while also highlighting America's "massive and powerful" nuclear capabilities.

- The two Koreas will hold military talks to ease tensions, and Red Cross talks for reunions of families separated by the Korean War. "Chairman Kim is anxious about whether he can trust that the USA will end the policy of hostility and guarantee the stability of his regime" after denuclearization. "That hasn't changed. And it's moving along pretty well, so we'll see what happens", Trump said in the Oval Office Saturday.

Donald Trump had earlier indicated the summit could be salvaged after welcoming a conciliatory statement from North Korea saying it remained open to talks.

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"We reiterate to the U.S. that there is a willingness to sit down at any time, in any way, to solve the problem", said a top official at the North Korean Foreign Ministry.

South Korea, which brokered the talks between Washington and Pyongyang, was caught off guard by Trump's abrupt cancellation of the summit in which he cited hostility in recent North Korean comments.

KCNA said Moon signed the visitors' book in Thongil House where the meeting took place, writing "Peace and Prosperity of the Korean Peninsula, together with Chairman Kim Jong Un".

"We express our willingness to sit down face-to-face with the United States and resolve issues anytime and in any format", North Korea's vice foreign minister Kim Kye-gwan said in a statement.

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