A top aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrived in Singapore on Monday night, a Japanese broadcaster said on Tuesday, adding weight to indications the planned summit with Donald Trump is going ahead.
Even critics of Trump's speedy approach to the talks, talks of a potential Nobel Prize, and subsequent return to vows of the use of military force if North Korea doesn't comply with US terms, said they expect the talks to move forward in order to avoid losing ground.
Others say the crisis was primarily averted by Kim and South Korea's president Moon Jae-in, who made the extraordinary decision to meet in the Panmunjom truce village between the two Koreas.
A team led by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin is scheduled to be in Singapore this weekend, meeting with North Korean officials to plan for the June 12 summit. The American delegation there is led by Mr Sung Kim, a veteran of previous nuclear negotiations with North Korea and now the USA ambassador to the Philippines.
On Sunday, Mr Trump said a team from the United States had arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the summit, saying it would help the North achieve its "brilliant potential".
"During the South Korea-US summit, President Trump said the US is willing to clearly put an end to hostile relations (between the US and North Korea) and help (the North) achieve economic prosperity if North Korea conducts denuclearization", he said. Sung Kim, a former USA ambassador to South Korea and former negotiator on North Korea's nuclear weapons program.
But North Korea watchers have previously warned that things have been moving too fast, and urged Washington to hold more preparatory meetings in the run-up to a formal summit, CNN reported. Three thousand miles away in Singapore, a team of U.S. logistics officials arrived late Monday and was expecting the arrival of a corresponding team from Pyongyang.
China's Foreign Ministry said yesterday it hoped the summit could happen as planned and be successful.
American officials are skeptical that Kim will ever fully abandon his nuclear arsenal. "And we'll be here satirizing the whole situation".
In a letter addressed to Kim, President Trump said due to the "tremendous anger and open hostility" expressed in a recent statement, he believed it would be "inappropriate" to hold the meeting.
"Disadvantages that would have stopped other presidents - that North Korea would be left with nominally much stronger forces than the South, that China would be the long-term beneficiary of a USA withdrawal from Northeast Asia, that other allies around the world including in Europe would feel undermined - will not necessarily halt Trump". Abe reportedly recommended the U.S.to maintain its pressure on North Korea until it reaches agreements over the nation's nuclear and missile programs.
Among those in North Korea on behalf of the USA was Sung Kim, the veteran diplomat and current US ambassador to the Philippines.
Kim is considered the North Korean leader's right-hand man and serves as the vice central committee chairman of the North's ruling Workers' Party.
Although Trump has not officially announced that the summit, which he abruptly canceled on Thursday, is back on, his staff is acting as though it is.