The United States and North Korea held talks at the inter-Korean border Wednesday as reports suggested an unlikely negotiator could join the planned June 12 summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and the North’s Chairman Kim Jong-un in Singapore.
According to sources cited by The New York Post, ex-basketball star Dennis Rodman is expected to arrive in the Southeast Asian city state on the eve of the summit and “could even play some sort of role in the negotiations”.
Rodman is seen as a friend to Kim, having previously visited Pyongyang five times.
He claims to have given the North Korean leader a copy of Trump’s ghost-written book ‘The Art of the Deal’ as a birthday gift last year.
“I think [Kim] didn’t realize who Donald Trump was at that time, I guess, until he started to read the book and started to get to understand him. Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un are pretty much the same,” Rodman told TMZ in April.
Meanwhile, Yonhap News Agency reported Wednesday that American career diplomat Sung Kim was back at the inter-Korean border to meet with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui.
The pair had already led delegations for five rounds of negotiations since May 27, with Washington and Pyongyang aiming to lay the groundwork for a possible denuclearization agreement.
The U.S. has repeatedly insisted that it will not drop sanctions against the North until the latter abandons its nukes.
Such are Pyongyang’s financial difficulties that speculation has been building over who will pay for Kim’s luxury hotel stay in Singapore, as well as accommodation for his support staff.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a briefing Tuesday that the U.S. government will not be picking up the bill, although Singapore is expected to support some of the summit’s costs.
This article has been adapted from its original source.
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