Donald Trump waits on Kim Jong-un letter, talks up possible meeting

Glen Norman
June 2, 2018

Trump's announcement came at the end of a two-hour meeting in the Oval Office of the White House with North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol, who had travelled from NY after two days of talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

As President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un prepare for their meeting in Singapore on June 12, South Korea indicated it might also join if an invite is extended to President Moon Jae-in.

Trump says after an Oval Office meeting Friday with North Korea's Kim Yong Chol that he'd be making a mistake not to go forward with the on-again, off-again nuclear summit in Singapore.

Kim Yong-chol is the highest-ranking North Korean official to visit the U.S.in 18 years, and his trip to the White House will be a highly symbolic sign of easing tensions after fears of war escalated amid North Korean nuclear and missile tests last year. The two sides do not expect to side any agreement on June 12, he said. As Kim and Pompeo met in NY, other US teams were meeting with North Korean officials in Singapore and in the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone.

"The big deal with be on June 12". Trump called it a "very nice letter".


While admitting that dealing with North Korea was "going to be a process", Trump said he believed that process would ultimately be "successful".

The U.S. has previously insisted that North Korea give up all its nuclear weapons before it can shed its pariah status or get any relief from the sanctions regime. But a meeting never came to be - and no sitting president has met with a North Korean leader since.

"President Trump and I believe Chairman Kim is the kind of leader who can make those kinds of decisions".

Upon arrival in NY, the former spy chief was escorted out of the airport by U.S. State Department officials, according to a North Korean official who spoke to reporters waiting for his arrival.

But pressed further about the content of the letter, Mr. Trump admitted he hasn't opened the letter yet, and said he could be in for a "surprise".


The statement leaves room for speculation about whether Moon could join the first meeting between a sitting United States president and a North Korean leader. Disputes between Washington and Pyongyang led Trump to cancel the meeting, only to see a renewal of diplomatic efforts in recent days.

His meeting with Pompeo is expected to determine whether the two sides have enough common ground to go ahead with the summit on dismantling the North's nuclear weapons program in exchange for concessions.

Kim is the most senior North Korean visitor to the United States since Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok visited Washington in 2000 to meet President Bill Clinton. United States officials had previously insisted that the North Koreans would have to be ready to surrender their nuclear arsenal at the meeting. Kim needed a special waiver from the State Department to travel to NY and to Washington.

"South Koreans may be eating well and have more material things, but that is only because they are depending on the American imperialists, currying favor with them and getting their leftovers", Ms. Kim said, describing a typical North Korean line.


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