Donald Trump speaks alongside then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Photo: AFP/Saul Loeb

An unnamed Blue House official has told South Korea’s Yonhap news agency that Rex Tillerson’s ouster as the top US diplomat won’t affect a planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un which is expected to take place by May.

“The North Korea-US summit will be held as scheduled as President Trump has personally expressed his decision to do so,” said the presidential official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

The official speculated that Tillerson’s firing as secretary of state and the naming of Mike Pompeo, the current head of the Central Intelligence Agency, as his replacement could be aimed at realizing Trump’s foreign policy objectives, which apparently include dialogue with the communist North.

“I believe the fact that President Trump tapped his close advisor as the state secretary shows that he sought to enhance the teamwork of the foreign relations team ahead of the North Korea-US summit,” the official said.