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White House says team heading to Singapore ahead of potential summit

CBS News logo CBS News 5/26/2018 Kathryn Watson
A man watches a television screen showing President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Train Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Thu., Aug. 10, 2017. President Donald Trump issued a new threat to North Korea on Thursday, demanding that Kim Jong Un's government "get their act together" or face extraordinary trouble. He said his previous "fire and fury" warning to Pyongyang might have been too mild.: ap-17222452596805.jpg © AP ap-17222452596805.jpg

Amid continued uncertainty over whether or not a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un will take place in the coming weeks, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said the White House is still sending a pre-advance team to Singapore to prepare.

"The White House pre-advance team for Singapore will leave as scheduled in order to prepare should the summit take place," Sanders said in a statement Saturday morning.

White House officials had been scheduled to travel to Singapore this weekend to plan and review logistics for the anticipated June 12 meeting. Last weekend, they traveled to Singapore and were stood up by the North Koreans, who never showed, according to a White House official.

President Trump called off the Singapore summit with a letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un Thursday morning. But North Korea responded later that evening expressing a willingness to talk to the U.S. at any point.

After that, Mr. Trump expressed some hope a summit might happen — "could even be the 12th," as he told reporters outside the White House Friday morning. Mr. Trump reiterated Friday night that the U.S. is having "very productive talks with North Korea" and the summit could still take place June 12th.

Sanders' announcement that the pre-advance trip is still on also comes as Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in held a surprise meeting at a border truce village on Saturday. 

"We see it as fortunate that the embers of dialogue between North Korea and the United States weren't fully extinguished and are coming alive again," Seoul's presidential spokesman Kim Eui-kyeom had said in a statement, as South Korea expressed relief over revived talks for a summit

If the summit is to take place on June 12, that would leave just two weeks for the U.S. teams to complete their preparations.

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