The summit's back on: Trump meets NKorea at White House

Posted June 02, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed on Friday that his summit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un would go ahead as originally planned on June 12 in Singapore, after unprecedented Oval Office talks with a top envoy from Pyongyang.

The official, Kim Yong Chol, was greeted by White House chief of staff John Kelly, who led him to the Oval Office for talks with Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to press secretary Sarah Sanders.

The video narration says that despite every effort, Kim is unable to change North Korea's dire economic state.

When Trump came out, he fielded questions from a gaggle of reporters, including if North Korea's total denuclearization was still on the table. He said it "went very well".

The South Korean defence minister said that if the talks on North Korea's nuclear weapons are successful, they could be compared with the 1989 Malta Summit between former President George H W Bush and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, less than a month after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

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"We talked about a lot, and we talked about sanctions", Trump said after the meeting.

Trump said that, after Friday's talks, the parties are "totally over that and now we're going to deal and we're going to really start a process". He added there may even need to be a second or third summit meeting to reach a deal on North Korean denuclearization but still hedged, saying "maybe we'll have none".

The president said it was likely that more than a single meeting would be necessary to bring about his goal of denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Trump told reporters he hadn't yet read the letter from the North Korean leader and added with a smile, "I may be in for a big surprise, folks". In this way, the video is an unusual admission of the poor state of North Korea's economy and the helplessness of its leadership. Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un - a timeline of eventsTrump said his meeting with the most senior North Korean to visit the White House in 18 years lasted longer than expected.

Kim Yong Chol left his hotel in New York City early Friday for the trip to Washington in a convoy of SUVs. North Korea's conciliatory response to that letter appears to have put the summit back on track.

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North Korea made a similar gesture with its neighbor to the south in February, during the Winter Olympics.

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.

The North Korean envoy, a close confidant of Kim Jong-un, arrived in Washington after two days of talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in NY.

"I purposely didn't open the letter".

When it comes to paying for lodging at North Korea's preferred 5-star luxury hotel, the United States is open to covering the costs, the two people said, but it's mindful that Pyongyang may view a USA payment as insulting. But there are lingering doubts on whether he will ever fully relinquish his nuclear arsenal, which he may see as his only guarantee of survival in a region surrounded by enemies.

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Kim Yong Chol was allowed into the United States despite being on a US sanctions list, and granted special permission to travel outside the NY area to meet with the president.