The White House said Trump and Abe spoke Monday. Three thousand miles away in Singapore, a team of U.S. logistics officials arrived late Monday and was expecting the arrival of a corresponding team from Pyongyang.
A man passes by a TV screen showing images of U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, Friday, May 25, 2018.
Earlier, the U.S. State Department said U.S. and North Korean officials had met at Panmunjom, a village in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that runs along the heavily armed border between North and South Korea.
"The two leaders frankly exchanged their opinions on implementing the April 27 Panmunjom Declaration [which the two struck in April at their first historic summit] and for the successful staging of a U.S. -NK summit", Blue House spokesman Yoon Young-chan said.
The weekend talks were the latest twist in a week of diplomatic ups and downs over the prospects for an unprecedented U.S.
A senior White House official said the North had reneged on its promises ahead of the summit, including a pledge to allow worldwide inspectors to monitor its explosive destruction of its nuclear test site.
The welcome message came after Trump told reporters Washington and Pyongyang were talking and both sides want to have the meeting that was supposed to be held in Singapore. He said meetings were ongoing and that the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula "would be a great thing for North Korea".
But relations between the rival Koreas have chilled in recent weeks, with North Korea cancelling a high-level meeting with Seoul over South Korea's participation in regular military exercises with the United States and insisting that it will not return to talks unless its grievances are resolved.
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In his letter, Trump warned Kim of the United States' greater nuclear might, reminiscent of his tweet previous year asserting that he had a "much bigger" nuclear button than Kim.While the Trump administration had insisted on North Korea's complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantling of its nuclear program, Pyongyang had always couched its language in terms of denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.
But it also followed escalating frustration - and newly antagonistic rhetoric - from North Korea over comments from Trump aides about US expectations for the North's "denuclearization". Moon said North Korea was not convinced it could trust security guarantees from the United States.
Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was deposed and killed by NATO-backed militants in 2011 after halting his nascent nuclear programme.
On May 16, North Korea criticized USA national security adviser John Bolton, who had called for North Korea to quickly give up its nuclear arsenal in a deal that would mirror Libya's abandonment of its programme for weapons of mass destruction.
Trump dismissed the so-called Libya model. "We'd like to do it", Trump said. "We'll see what happens - it could even be the 12th".
On Friday, Mr Trump turned on his heels again, saying the meeting with Mr Kim could go ahead after all - and would "likely" happen on the originally scheduled date of June 12 in Singapore.
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