A meeting between leaders of the US and North Korea will take place in Singapore on June 12, US President Donald Trump confirmed after receiving a senior official from Pyongyang at the White House.
Kim Yong-chol is among the most senior officials in North Korea, a rank for which he was previously blacklisted by the US. He arrived in the US to deliver a letter from Kim Jong-un to Trump.
After the meeting in the Oval Office, Trump walked Kim and his delegation to their car, a honor usually reserved for a select few among foreign dignitaries. He confirmed that the scheduled meeting, which appeared to be in jeopardy earlier, will take place.
When asked about the content of the letter he received, Trump joked, asking how much money was offered for the information. He declined to immediately tell what was in the message, describing its content as “interesting.” He said a moment to make it public may come sometime later.
The president seemed to be satisfied by whatever message Kim delivered, going as far as saying that he no longer wants to use the term “maximum pressure” to describe economic sanctions the US has imposed against North Korea.
Trump also spoke less critically than on Thursday about Russian diplomatic effort with North Korea. He had previously criticized the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to Pyongyang, but after talking to the North Korean delegation said it might be a positive development.
The fate of the much-anticipated summit on the Korean nuclear crisis seemed sealed a week ago, after Trump stunned the international community by saying that he’d cancelled the talks with Kim, due to some “tremendous anger and open hostility” in Pyongyang’s statements. The announcement came despite North Korea dismantling its Punggye-ri nuclear test site as an act of good will earlier that same day.
However, less than 24 hours later, the US leader hinted that the meeting may still take place, citing “very productive talks” with North Korea and its commitment to finding a diplomatic solution to the nuclear issue. Shortly afterwards, American officials met with their counterparts from Pyongyang on the border between South and North Korea, in an attempt to resume preparations for the Trump-Kim summit.
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