Trump to meet Abe before 'expected' Kim summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Moon Jae-in met in the border truce village where they held their first summit last month

Trump tweeted later Friday that the summit, if it does happen, will likely take place June 12 in Singapore, as originally planned.

The presence of US officials in North Korea is raising expectations that a summit between President Donald Trump and the North's Kim Jong Un will take place after all.

Saturday's surprise talks between the rival Koreas - which Moon said Kim requested - came hours after Trump told reporters that the planned June 12 summit in Singapore, which he abruptly canceled on Thursday, might still be salvaged.

Trump subsequently wrote on Twitter that the two countries were having "very productive talks" and added that if the summit happens, it will likely still be in Singapore on the initially scheduled date, and could be extended if necessary.

Trump scrapped the summit in a letter to Kim on Thursday after repeated threats by North Korea to pull out over what it saw as confrontational remarks by US officials demanding unilateral disarmament.

The fragile balance was first tipped on May 15, after North Korea said it would cut off talks over military exercises being conducted in the region by the US and South Korea.

"We'll see what happens".

But relations between the rival Koreas chilled in recent weeks, with North Korea canceling a high-level meeting with Seoul over South Korea's participation in regular military exercises with the US and insisting that it will not return to talks unless its grievances are resolved. "We are talking to them now", Trump said at the White House before boarding Marine One for a commencement address in Annapolis.

On Saturday, the North Korean leader's sister Kim Yo Jong awaited Moon's motorcade on the north side of the demilitarized zone, according to video clips of Moon's arrival released by the Blue House.

Abe backs Trump's cancellation of U.S.-N. Korea summit
They very much want to do it. "Chairman Kim requested a meeting without any formality two days ago and I gladly accepted it", Mr. Moon said, noting that the summit was in line with previous agreements for the two leaders to meet more often.

The meeting on Saturday is the latest chapter in a long-running diplomatic effort to end North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.

But as the clock ticks toward June 12, Trump's aides are describing a renewed sense of urgency to make progress that would allow the two leaders to meet on schedule.

North Korea informed its own people of the meeting between Moon and Kim, with reports in state-run media hailing a "new era of reconciliation and unity".

Trump blamed the cancellation on the "tremendous anger and open hostility" in a recent statement by the North Koreans. Moon then walked inside and shook hands with Kim Jong Un and posed for a photo in front of a large landscape painting, video clips show.

USA defense and intelligence officials have repeatedly assessed the North to be on the threshold of having the capability to strike anywhere in the continental US with a nuclear-tipped missile - a capacity that Trump and other USA officials have said they would not tolerate.

Right now, it appears so based on Trump's comments Saturday night.

A White House team will leave as scheduled for Singapore this weekend to prepare for the possible summit, a White House spokeswoman said.

But, "if there is going to be a war, it's going to end badly for North Korea", he said.

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