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

Posted June 02, 2018

Kim Yong Chol, the most senior North Korean to visit the United States in 18 years, spent nearly 90 minutes in the Oval Office.

Last week, Trump had abruptly canceled the historic Singapore meeting arranged by USA and North Korean officials after North Korea sent a bellicose letter critical of Vice President Mike Pence. "Our two countries face a pivotal moment in our relationship, and it would be nothing short of tragic to let this opportunity go to waste".

The president told reporters it was a "very nice letter" although he later said he hadn't opened it yet.

Three teams of officials in the U.S., Singapore, and the Korean demilitarized zone have been meeting this week on preparations for the summit. As a result, US planners are considering asking the host country of Singapore to pay for the North Korean delegation's bill.

"I don't even want to use the term "maximum pressure" anymore", Trump added, referencing his preferred term for the punishing US economic sanctions against North Korea. 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".

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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.

Lavrov said Moscow hoped all sides would take a measured approach to possible forthcoming talks on a nuclear settlement. The reporter was later instructed to leave the premises after interacting with the US planning delegation, which is now staying at the resort. Instead, the two men wrapped up at 11:25 a.m.

North Korea, whose nuclear ambitions have been a source of tension for decades, has made advances in missile technology in recent years but Trump has sworn not to allow it to develop nuclear missiles that could hit the United States.

"Our secretary of state is having very good meetings", Mr. Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews before departing on a trip to Texas.

"They want it", Trump said Friday. "It is very important to them". The transaction would require the Office of Foreign Assets Control to "temporarily suspend the applicability of sanctions" through a waiver, she said. "Hopefully we will have a meeting on the 12th".

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"As we move to adjust to the political situation in the face of United States hegemonism, I am willing to exchange detailed and in-depth opinions with your leadership and hope to do so moving forward", Kim told 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 Trump would provide. Despite Kim's apparent eagerness for a summit with Trump, there are many doubts that he would fully relinquish his nuclear arsenal, which he may see as his guarantee of survival.

Trump had called off plans for a summit in a letter to Kim on May 24, complaining of "the tremendous anger and open hostility" in comments from North Korea.

Kim Yong Chul, who till now was under U.S. sanctions, is likely to stay in the country till tomorrow.

Trump appeared to significantly lower expectations for the outcome of the historic summit, frequently describing it as the start of a process and not the place where the two leaders were likely to sign any agreement.

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