Trump awaits Kim letter as summit talks make progress

Saul Bowman
June 2, 2018

The US President also spoke of his hope for the peace process with North Korea, announcing that his planned summit with Kim Jong-un on 12 June was back on. He had announced just last week that he was canceling the meeting.

Donald Trump's summit with Kim Jong-un in Singapore on 12 June is back on, the USA president says, a week after it was scrapped. This was the first time that a senior North Korean official had visited the White House since a senior military official from that country visited former-President Bill Clinton in 2000.

Trump said the lengthy conversation Friday "went very well" and called it "a get to know you kind of a situation". He delivered a personal letter to President Trump from Kim Jong Un at the White House.

Meanwhile, Kim Jong Un and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met in Pyongyang Thursday, according to North Korea's official state news agency.

There is no sign yet whether Lavrov discussed his pending visit to Pyongyang with Pompeo; the Russian ministry said the two diplomats "exchanged views on several aspects of the joint agenda", citing the Syrian crisis and Ukraine.

Trump predicted the upcoming meeting in Singapore would likely be the first of many.

Last month North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho held rare talks with Lavrov in Moscow as Pyongyang moves to improve strained ties with global powers.

President Donald Trump says he won't impose any additional sanctions on North Korea for the time being.

"I never said that it will happen in one meeting".

Kim Yong Chol spent more than an hour in the Oval Office where he was spotted shaking hands with the president.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said "real progress" had been made in NY talks with Kim's right-hand man, while in Pyongyang the Korean leader re-committed to "denuclearisation". He was greeted by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly and Andrew Kim, a CIA official in charge of the agency's Korea Mission Center.

Trump then called the bluff by canceling the summit himself in a letter to Kim, to which North Korea responded with conciliatory statements, saying it would meet the USA any time. But he says he won't impose them "until the talks break down".

But analysts say North Korea will be unwilling to cede its nuclear deterrent unless it is given security guarantees that the USA will not try to topple the regime.

In response to a reporter, Trump said he and Kim may discuss an end to the Korean War, which has technically still been ongoing - with armed conflict ceased decades ago in an armistice between the Koreas. "You people will have to travel, because you're going to Singapore on June 12", he said.

Despite the upbeat messaging in the United States, Kim Jong-un, in a meeting with Russia's foreign minister on Thursday, complained about the US trying to spread its influence in the region, a comment that may complicate the summit plans.

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