Trump-Kim meeting: Preparations going well, says US

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International desk, June 05: The US has said preparations for next week’s meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un are going well.The White House said the two men would first meet at 09:00 local time and that Mr Trump was receiving daily briefings.

But it said sanctions would not be lifted against North Korea unless it gave up its nuclear weapons.

With one week to go to the summit, hosted by Singapore, remarkably few details have been publicly confirmed.

It remains unclear exactly where in the city state the two will meet.

Discussions on the denuclearisation on the Korean peninsula are expected to be high on the agenda, although some analysts have speculated that a formal end to the Korean War is also on the table.

There was initially much uncertainty over whether the summit would go ahead at all, and it was briefly called off last month by Mr Trump after a dispute with the North Koreans.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told reporters on Monday that the president “has been receiving daily briefings on North Korea from his national security team”.

“And I can also tell you the schedule tentatively for that first meeting will be on June 12 at 9am Singapore time.” That time is 01:00 GMT and 21:00 Tuesday 11 June in Washington.

‘Sanctions remain in place’

Asked if the US would continue with Mr Trump’s policy of placing “maximum pressure” on Pyongyang, Ms Sanders said that view had not changed.

“We have sanctions on, they are very powerful and we would not take those sanctions off unless North Korea denuclearised.”

After meeting a senior North Korean official in Washington last week, Mr Trump said he did not want to use the term “maximum pressure” anymore, because the two sides were “getting along”.

He said as North Korea was being more co-operative he would hold off on imposing new sanctions.

Ahead of the summit, North Korea has been engaged in a flurry of diplomatic activity.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov came for a surprise visit to Pyongyang and the two countries are now making plans for Mr Kim to visit Moscow later this year.

Russia said it did not want to interfere in the diplomatic efforts of the US.

Over the weekend, North Korea said that Syrian President Bashar al-Assad was planning a state visit to North Korea as well.