White House press secretary Sarah Sanders reaffirmed Saturday that a White House advance team will head to Singapore for a planning meeting in preparation for a potential June 12 summit there with North Korea.
President Donald Trump has signaled repeatedly that he’s open to proceeding with the historic sit-down despite sending a blunt letter North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday apparently calling it off.
“The White House pre-advance team for Singapore will leave as scheduled in order to prepare should the summit take place,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters Saturday morning.
Kim met Saturday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a key figure in brokering the U.S.-North Korea détente, to discuss getting the Singapore meeting back on track.
The manifest for the trip to Singapore, obtained Friday by POLITICO, includes a large advance team lead by deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin and special assistant to the president Patrick Clifton. Also on the manifest: director of presidential advance Bobby Peede, Bill Hughes, Ben Miller, Hannah Salem and Rebecca Wasserstein.
The team is set to arrive in Japan on May 28 and will leave for Singapore the same day, according to the manifest.
Trump's letter to Kim and statements from his top aides have framed the potential summit as a boost for Kim, with Sanders saying it would "be great for the world and certainly would be good for North Korea." But the president holds his own stake in the discussions, which could reap a sizable victory for him on the global stage.
For months, Trump has worked to make the landmark gathering happen. His abrupt cancellation and deteriorating dialogue, however, have raised questions about his ability to pull off the delicate talks.
“We’ll see what happens,” he said Friday as he departed for the Naval Academy graduation ceremony in Annapolis, Maryland. “It could even be the 12th. We’re talking to them now. They very much want to do it. We’d like to do it. We’ll see what happens.”