WITH the fate of a June 12 summit in Singapore between US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un still uncertain, a Kim lookalike shocked many pedestrians in the Southeast Asian city-state.
The two countries, as well as South Korea, have since worked to reschedule the meeting, with the White House this weekend sending a team of US officials to Singapore to meet with North Koreans and prepare should the summit go forward.
Chung Sung-yoon, an analyst at the Korea Institute for National Unification, said Kim Yong Chol would be the most senior North Korean official to step onto U.S. soil since Vice Marshall Jo Myong Rok met President Bill Clinton in 2000.
On Sunday, South Korean President Moon Jae-in expressed his hope to hold the trilateral summit between South Korea, North Korea and the United States.
The White House said over the weekend that a separate team of officials was also on its way to Singapore, to lay the groundwork for a meeting.
The Washington Post reported that the group was being led by Sung King, the United States ambassador to the Philippines, who formerly served as U.S. envoy to South Korea and as a nuclear negotiator with the North.
Trump said "I'd rather not say" whether he has spoken with North Korea's leader.
The President later in the day said the meeting would see the two sides "make arrangements for the Summit between Kim Jong Un and myself". Trump, who has since teased that the summit might still happen, tweeted about the diplomatic efforts in North Korea late Sunday afternoon, expressing his optimism that the US team's arrangements will pan out.
According to The Washington Post, Sung Kim, a former United States ambassador to South Korea and former nuclear negotiator with the North, has been called in from his post as envoy to the Philippines to lead the preparations.
He and his team met Monday with a North Korean team led by Choe Son-hui, a vice foreign minister who has specialized in dealing with the United States, in the Tongilgak building on the northern side of Panmunjom, about the planned summit between their leaders.
The U.S. has frequently called for the "complete, verifiable, and irreversible" dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
"I don't know that the president has done the kind of homework that would allow him to do this" in negotiations, said Hayden, who headed the CIA under presidents George W. Bush and Obama, and who also served as director of the National Security Agency under both Bush and President Clinton.
During his two-hour meeting with Mr Kim, Mr Moon said he urged both Washington and Pyongyang "to remove misunderstandings through direct communication and to have sufficient dialogue in advance through working-level negotiations on the agendas to be agreed upon at the summit". But he and Republican Senator Marco Rubio agreed it's unrealistic to expect Kim to give up his nuclear weapons.
The North has previously used the term to demand the United States pull out its 28,500 troops in South Korea and withdraw its so-called "nuclear umbrella" security commitment to South Korea and Japan.
Trump on Thursday scrapped the summit after repeated threats by North Korea to pull out over what it saw as confrontational remarks by USA officials demanding unilateral disarmament.
The impersonator said Kim's rise as the third leader of North Korea in 2011 has proved lucrative for him, jump starting a new career in films, commercials and private functions, most often in his home town of Hong Kong.