The US president has said the time and place has been set for his landmark meeting with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un – but kept the world guessing about when and where.
Donald Trump also said that withdrawal of US troops from South Korea was “not on the table” as he looks to get Mr Kim to give up his nuclear weapons at what will be the first summit between a US and a North Korean leader.
The New York Times said he has asked the Pentagon to prepare plans for scaling back US military presence in the allied Asian nation.
We now have a date and we have a location. We'll be announcing it soonDonald Trump
Some 28,500 US forces are based there, a military presence that has been preserved since the Korean War ended in 1953 without a peace treaty.
North Korea has long sought the removal of those troops as one of its conditions for denuclearisation.
It remains unclear if Mr Kim has relaxed that demand as he turns to diplomacy with adversaries after a year of escalating tensions.
“We now have a date and we have a location. We’ll be announcing it soon,” Trump said from the White House South Lawn before departing for Dallas.
Mr Trump suggested on Monday that he was looking for his historic meeting with the North Korean dictator to be held at the demilitarised zone between the two Koreas.
That’s where Mr Kim met South Korean president Moon Jae-in last Friday – a summit that has paved the way for the US president’s planned face-to-face with Mr Kim.
He also said then that the city state of Singapore was in the running to play host.
Mr Trump previously said the summit was planned for May or early June. On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence postponed a planned trip to Brazil at the end of May to free resources for the summit.
The president also heavily hinted that the release of three Americans by North Korea was in the offing, but again was sparing on the details.
“We’re having very substantive talks with North Korea and a lot of things have already happened with respect to the hostages, and I think you’re going to see very good things.
“As I said yesterday, stay tuned,” he said, referring to an earlier tweet on the issue.
As everybody is aware, the past Administration has long been asking for three hostages to be released from a North Korean Labor camp, but to no avail. Stay tuned!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 3, 2018
National security adviser John Bolton, who was due to meet his South Korean counterpart Chung Eui-yong in Washington on Friday, called the Times report “utter nonsense”.
“The president has not asked the Pentagon to provide options for reducing American forces stationed in South Korea,” he said.