Top aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un lands in Singapore as summit preparations continue: NHK

TOKYO (Reuters) - A top aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Singapore on Monday night, Japanese public broadcaster NHK said Tuesday, the latest indication that the on-again-off-again summit with U.S. President Donald Trump is going ahead.

Kim Chang Son, Kim’s de facto chief of staff, flew to Singapore via Beijing on Monday night, the report said.

At the same time, a team of U.S. government officials, including the White House deputy chief of staff for operations Joe Hagin, left U.S. Yokota Air Base in Japan for Singapore on Monday, NHK said.

The White House said a “pre-advance” team was traveling to Singapore to meet with North Koreans.

The reports indicate that planning for the historic summit, initially scheduled for June 12, is moving ahead after Trump called it off last week. A day later, Trump said he had reconsidered, and officials from both countries were meeting to work out details.

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A look at the day Trump cancelled the North Korea summit
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A look at the day Trump cancelled the North Korea summit
A man watches a television news screen showing US President Donald Trump (L) and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (R), at a railway station in Seoul on May 25, 2018. - US President Donald Trump on May 24 called off his planned June summit with Kim Jong Un, blaming 'open hostility' from the North Korean regime and warning Pyongyang against committing any 'foolish or reckless acts.' (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP) (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
A letter from U.S. President Donald Trump to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un canceling their upcoming planned summit in Singapore is seen in this photo released by the White House in Washington, U.S. May 24, 2018. The White House via Reuters ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. IT IS DISTRIBUTED, EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS
A commemorative coin released by the White House for a potential 'peace summit,' featuring the names and silhouettes of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader�Kim�Jung�Un, is displayed for a photograph in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, May 24, 2018. Trump�canceled his planned�summit�with Kim Jong Un�that had been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, citing 'tremendous anger and open hostility' in recent statements from Pyongyang. Photographer: Yuri Gripas/Bloomberg via Getty Images
A news editor in Washington, DC looks at the 'deal of the day' on the official website of the White House gift shop May 24, 2018 as the commemorative coin featuring US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un goes for USD 19.95 instead of the regular price of USD 24.95. - The price of the coin, struck by the White House Communications Agency ahead of the much anticipated US-North Korea summit meeting, seemed to lose value shortly after Trump called off the June 12, 2018 summit blaming 'tremenduous anger' and 'hostility' from the North Korean regime and warning Pyongyang against committing any 'foolish or reckless acts.' (Photo by Eva HAMBACH / AFP) (Photo credit should read EVA HAMBACH/AFP/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - MAY 25: A man reads a newspaper at Seoul railway station on May 25, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea. The U.S. President Donald Trump called off the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that had been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore due to 'tremendous anger and open hostility' in recent statements from Pyongyang. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA - MAY 25: People watch a TV report at Seoul railway station on May 25, 2018 in Seoul, South Korea. The U.S. President Donald Trump called off the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that had been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore due to 'tremendous anger and open hostility' in recent statements from Pyongyang. (Photo by Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)
A man reads the front page of a newspaper at a railway station in Seoul on May 25, 2018 showing a picture of US President Donald Trump. - US President Donald Trump on May 24 called off his planned June summit with Kim Jong Un, blaming 'open hostility' from the North Korean regime and warning Pyongyang against committing any 'foolish or reckless acts.' (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP) (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
A man watches a television news showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (R) and US President Donald Trump (L), at a railway station in Seoul on May 24, 2018. - North Korea has dismantled its nuclear test site, media invited to attend the ceremony said on May 24, in a carefully choreographed move portrayed by the isolated regime as a goodwill gesture ahead of a potential summit next month with the US. (Photo by Jung Yeon-je / AFP) (Photo credit should read JUNG YEON-JE/AFP/Getty Images)
A commemorative coin released by the White House for a potential 'peace summit,' featuring the names and silhouettes of U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader�Kim�Jung�Un, is arranged photograph taken in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, May 24, 2018. Trump�canceled his planned�summit�with Kim Jong Un�that had been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, citing 'tremendous anger and open hostility' in recent statements from Pyongyang. Photographer: Yuri Gripas/Bloomberg via Getty Images
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In a flurry of diplomacy over the weekend, Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held a surprise meeting on Saturday at the border village of Panmunjom, during which they agreed the North Korea-U.S. summit must be held.

Moon said Monday there could be more impromptu talks between the two Koreas in the lead-up to the summit.

And on Sunday, the U.S. State Department said American and North Korean officials had met at Panmunjom.

North Korea defends its nuclear and missile programs as a deterrent against perceived aggression by the United States, which keeps 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

It has long said it is open to eventually giving up its nuclear arsenal if the United States withdraws its troops from South Korea and ends its “nuclear umbrella” alliance with Seoul.

Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; writing by Malcolm Foster. Editing by Lincoln Feast.

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