President Donald Trump, Kim Jong Un

Trump: Chris Kleponis / Sipa USA; Kim: Korean Central News Agency/Korea News Service via AP, File

Trump Admin. Brings In Former Obama Official For North Korea Negotiations

May 27, 2018 - 1:26 pm
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WASHINGTON (WCBS 880/CBS News) -- The Trump administration is now relying on a former Obama administration official to lead negotiations with North Korea.

President Donald Trump pulled out of the planned June 12 summit with leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday, but now there are signs it could be back on. South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with Kim in a surprise meeting at the border on Saturday and said Kim was still committed to "complete denuclearization" of the peninsula. 

Sung Kim, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea and former nuclear negotiator with the North, is leading negotiations.

The Washington Post reported Sunday that Sung Kim “crossed the line that separates the two Koreas to meet with Choe Son Hui, the North Korean vice foreign minister, who said last week that Pyongyang was ‘reconsidering’ the talks.”

Sung Kim and Choe were part of the delegations that negotiated a 2005 denuclearization agreement through a six-party framework, the Washington Post reported.

U.S. Sen. Chris Coons (D-Delaware) told Fox News he is hopeful.

“I think it’s possible to have a constructive and positive summit, and I certainly prefer President Trump’s choice now of diplomacy over threatening fire and fury,” Coons said.

But Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida) told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that he was “not very optimistic” about the prospects of North Korea denuclearizing.

Rubio said it's going to be "very difficult" for North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear stockpile. He suggested that Kim is now "going to try to get as much sanctions relief as possible without having to give up his weapons."

"I think it's going to be a lot of twists and turns along the way to to try to get there if it's even possible. But I hope I'm wrong," added Rubio. 

Trump on Thursday wrote in a letter to Kim that he was "very much looking forward to being there with you. Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting."

(© 2018 WCBS 880. CBS News contributed to this report.)