Top North Korean official meets Trump at White House
- Author: Megan Austin Jun 02, 2018,
Jun 02, 2018, 10:47
USA officials working to plan President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump tells Trudeau on NAFTA: US will agree to fair deal or "no deal at all" Dem senator suggests Trump "sending a message to witnesses" with pardons Kim Jong Un hasn't changed his stance on denuclearization: report MORE's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore have reportedly run into a logistical problem - who will pay for Kim's hotel?
Trump made the announcement - a week after he canceled the summit - following an Oval Office meeting with Kim's lieutenant, Kim Yong Chol, who was delivering a letter from his country's leader, and that ended up lasting more than an hour. The official, Kim Yong Chol, posed for photos with Trump outside the Oval Office, and they talked amiably at Kim's auto before he was driven away.
"We're going to deal", Trump told reporters moments after the meeting ended. He concluded, "I think you're going to have a very positive result in the end".
"Historically it's very important, but we'll see".
Trump said he did not expect the North Korean dictator to agree to denuclearization in the Singapore meeting, but added that the US goal in the unconventional negotiations would come eventually during a longer process and more meetings.
Nevertheless, the United States president had warm words for Pyongyang, saying the long discussions had touched on North Korea's denuclearization and economic development.
"He wants to be careful", Trump said of Kim.
When asked if he could offer a "flavor of what the letter said", Trump said: "It was a very interesting letter".
So that could usher in a plan to have the host nation of Singapore pay for Kim's entourage, ensuring that Pyongyang doesn't have to max out its low-limit credit card or suffer the indignity of Uncle Sam picking up the bill. White House officials cast the roller-coaster public statements as reflective of efforts by each leader to test the resolve of the other.
Within days, three teams of officials in the U.S., Singapore and the Korean demilitarized zone began meeting on preparations for the summit. "I purposely didn't open the letter", Trump said. By the next day, he was signaling the event could be back on after a conciliatory response from North Korea.
Kim Yong Chol was greeted at the White House by chief of staff John Kelly and then whisked into the Oval Office.
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Ambassador to Singapore David Adelman said Singapore was ideal because it has been "an honest broker between East and West". Of the 516 South Koreans in the North, 457 of them were fishermen, according to the Unification Ministry.
Trump's meeting with Kim Jong Un would be the first between a USA president and a North Korean leader since the division of the Korean Peninsula after an armistice was signed in July, 1953, following a civil war. He said of the North Koreans, "I believe they will be coming down to Washington on Friday".
USA defense and intelligence officials have repeatedly assessed the North to be on the threshold the capability to strike anywhere in the continental US with a nuclear-tipped missile - a capacity that Trump and other US officials have said they would not tolerate.
"I look forward to the day I can take the sanctions off North Korea", Trump said.
Song Young-moo said: "Just because we have been tricked by North Korea in the past doesn't guarantee that we will be tricked in the future".
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un meets with South Korean President Moon Jae-in (not pictured) during their summit at the truce village of Panmunjom, North Korea, in this handout picture released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA), on May 27. "As we move to adjust to the political situation in the face of USA hegemonism, I am willing to exchange detailed and in-depth opinions with your leadership and hope to do so moving forward", Kim told Sergey Lavrov.
North Korea's flurry of diplomatic activity following an increase in nuclear weapons and missile tests in 2017 suggests that Kim is eager for sanctions relief to build his economy and for the global legitimacy a summit with Mr. Trump would provide.
In a move that is sure to worry United States allies in Japan and South Korea, Trump also said that he and his guest had discussed USA troop numbers on the Korean peninsula.
Most expert observers are sceptical that even an unprecedented summit between the two leaders can lead to a rapid breakthrough, and Trump admitted it would be a long and hard process.
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.