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Time and date set for summit between Trump and Kim

June 05,2018
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White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders listens to a question during the daily press briefing at the White House on Monday in Washington. [AP/YONHAP]
The first summit between North Korea and the United States will start at 9 a.m. next Tuesday in Singapore, and working-level discussions between the two countries have been "very positive" so far with "significant progress" made, the White House said on Monday.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said during a regular briefing that the advance team in Singapore was "finalizing" logistical preparations and will remain in place until the summit begins. The venue of the historic meeting was not revealed. It was the first time that either country announced the time of the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

In the Demilitarized Zone, where U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim is leading a delegation for negotiations with North Korean officials on an agenda for the summit, discussions have been "very positive, and significant progress has been made," Sanders said, without detailing further.

Asked about the contents of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's letter to Trump, which was personally delivered by Kim's special envoy last Friday at the White House, Sanders refused to get into specifics but quoted Trump as saying they were "interesting."

"As the president said, they were interesting, and we feel like things are continuing to move forward and good progress has been made," said Sanders. "And we're continuing to prepare for the president's summit."

If a political agreement on the need to inspect North Korea's nuclear stockpile is made, Yukiya Amano, director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), said his group was prepared to resume the process "within weeks."

"The agency is closely following developments related to the nuclear program" of North Korea, Amano said Monday during the agency's board of governors meeting in Geneva.

"We continue to enhance our readiness to play an essential role in verifying the DPRK's nuclear program if a political agreement is reached among countries concerned," he said. DPRK are the initials of North Korea's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

The last time IAEA inspectors were allowed in the North was April 2009, shortly after Pyongyang announced it would walk away from the six-party denuclearization talks involving the two Koreas, U.S., Russia, Japan and China.

Pyongyang conducted its second nuclear test that May with an estimated yield of 2 to 4 kilotons. The yield of a nuclear weapon is the amount of energy released when it is detonated. One kiloton is equal to 1,000 tons of TNT explosive energy.

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]