Pres. Trump announces summit with N. Korea back on

Posted June 02, 2018

President Donald Trump on Friday talked warmly to reporters about the "very nice" and "very interesting" letter he received earlier in the day from North Korea's leader, Kim Jong Un.

"We're going to be June 12 - we'll be in Singapore".

The arrangements for the five-star accommodations are among many that have to be hashed out before Kim and President Trump sit down for the historic talks in Singapore, the Washington Post reported.

"I don't even want to use the term "maximum pressure" anymore", Trump added, referencing his preferred term for the punishing US economic sanctions imposed on North Korea in response to its nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

"The relationships are building and that's very positive", he said. It was after 18 years that a North Korean official met a United States president in the Oval Office.

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United States officials with knowledge of the letter's contents said it did not make any noteworthy threats or concessions, and was seen as a positive step, according to multiple news reports. "Remember what I say: We will see what we will see".

After exchanging threats and insults since Trump became president a year ago, the United States and North Korea have been trying to set up the summit between their leaders.

Three teams of officials in the U.S., Singapore, and the Korean demilitarized zone have been meeting this week on preparations for the summit.

Trump later teased the contents of the letter, but told reporters he hadn't yet opened it. The two men posed with the very large envelope in the Oval Office. Kim Yong Chol, the most senior North Korean to visit the United States in 18 years, spent nearly 90 minutes in the Oval Office.

Kim Jong Un, however, has indicated he may indeed be willing to end his nuclear program and has already demolished his only known nuclear testing site last week as a gesture that he sought peace with the U.S. That same day, however, Trump canceled the talks after North Korea issued a fiery statement criticizing Vice President Mike Pence for threatening Kim Jong Un's life. He also added that he had not yet read the letter Kim had been dispatched to deliver, saying "I could be in for a big surprise, folks". 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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"It is an ironic and telling deviation from North Korea's insistence on being treated on an 'equal footing, '" said Scott Snyder, a Korea expert at Council on Foreign Relations. He cited "tremendous anger and open hostility" by Pyongyang but also urged Kim Jong Un to call him. North Korea's conciliatory response to that letter appears to have put the summit back on track.

Pompeo had met in New York City with Kim Yong Chol on Thursday, paving the way for Friday's visit to the White House.

Despite the upbeat messaging in the United States, Kim Jong Un, in a meeting with Russia's foreign minister on Thursday, complained about the USA trying to spread its influence in the region, a comment that may complicate the summit.

Kim Yong Chol 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 and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

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