Top North Korean official meets Trump at White House

02 June, 2018, 04:33 | Author: Jason Torres
  • Sergei Lavrov

"We'll be meeting June 12 in Singapore".

His travel restrictions were lifted this week so he could fly to NY and Washington, DC to meet USA officials, the Department of State said.

In a related news, an official from Trump's State Department said, "Between now and if we're going to have a summit, they're going to have to make clear what they're willing to do".

"They'd like to see something happen - and if we can work that out, that would be good".

Earlier on Friday, the KCNA state news agency reported that North Korea and Russian Federation agreed to hold a meeting between the two countries' leaders this year. The US wants complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, and Trump said that Kim is committed to that goal, too.

Trump said he believed Kim Jong Un would agree to denuclearization.

Citing a foreign government official who was briefed on the letter's contents, The Wall Street Journal reported that the latest correspondence between the two leaders would be positive, yet straightforward.

Plans for the high-stakes sit-down in Singapore had been cast into doubt.

"That is something that had been considered from the beginning" one White House official said.

The decision to hold the diplomatic meeting in Singapore comes roughly a week after Trump called the summit off in a threatening letter. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who met with Kim Yong Chol in NY on Thursday, was also visible in the meeting through a window in images captured by television cameras.

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"I look forward to the day when I can take the sanctions off of North Korea".

Though he's accused of the Sony pictures 2014 hack and was sanctioned by the US, Kim Yong Chol was feted at the White House.

Emerging from a historic and rare 90-minute-plus Oval Office meeting with a top North Korean official, Mr. Trump told reporters that the summit is back on, after he canceled it last week. Kim Yong Chol gave Trump a letter from Kim Jong Un, which Trump described as a "very nice".

Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling party executive and a veteran regime insider, arrived for his Oval Office encounter accompanied by the senior USA officials who have overseen an extraordinary diplomatic opening.

On Thursday, after talks with Kim Yong Chol in New York, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed confidence that the process was moving in the right direction, but warned that the North's young leader must be bold enough to make a "strategic shift" in understanding that he will be safer without nuclear weapons.

While South Korea has always been in favor of a trilateral summit, the USA hasn't so willing, according to Mintaro Oba, a former State Department diplomat involved in Korean affairs. "And that in the coming weeks and months, we will have the opportunity to test whether or not this is the case", he said.

The letter from Kim Jong Un had to first be inspected by USA officials before it was delivered to the president, a White House official confirmed. "That I can tell you".

He had been personally sanctioned by the United States over his role in the North's nuclear weapons program and is thought to have masterminded an attack that sank a South Korean naval vessel in 2010, killing 46 sailors.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (2nd L) holds talks with North Korean envoy Kim Yong-chol (2nd R) in NY, on May 31, 2018. That was the last time the two sides, which are technically at war, attempted to arrange a leadership summit. Relations turned sour again after George W Bush took office in early 2001 with a tough policy on the North.

Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party's central committee, was allowed into the United States despite being on a USA sanctions list, but the State Department has said he would likely need additional approval to travel outside the NY area. They also met during the American diplomat's two trips to Pyongyang in April and May.



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