Korea summit back on, Trump says after meeting Kim envoy

A top aide to Kim Jong Un is expected to hand a letter from the North Korean leader to President Trump in Washington Friday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said after reporting "good progress" in talks between the two sides to revive an on-again, off-again nuclear summit.

He says, "The process will begin on June 12 in Singapore".

In regards to his abrupt cancellation of the summit last week, Trump said "we're over that, we're totally over that".

Nevertheless, the United States president had warm words for Pyongyang, saying the long discussions had touched on North Korea's denuclearization and economic development. Under Trump, the USA has led a "maximum pressure" campaign of military drills and strict sanctions against North Korea, which has so far refused to abandon the nuclear weapons it believes are necessary to protect it from a US invasion.

"I think it's probably going to be a very successful, ultimately a successful process", Trump told reporters on the White House lawn after meeting with a senior North Korean official in the Oval Office.

"We talked about nearly everything".

But the United States would need to circumvent its own sanctions against the rogue nation.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in Louisville warned Trump to be dispassionate about North Korea. However, his comments were the most positive from any USA official since Mr. Trump abruptly canceled the meeting last week after belligerent statements from the North.

"We're going to deal", Trump told reporters after Kim left.

Kim Yong Chol was greeted at the White House by chief of staff John Kelly and then whisked into the Oval Office.

Trump's meeting with Kim Jong Un would be the first between a US 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.

Trump views a summit as a legacy-defining opportunity to make a nuclear deal, but he has left the world guessing since canceling the meeting last week in an open letter to Kim that complained of the North's "tremendous anger and open hostility".

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. North Korea's conciliatory response to that letter appears to have put the summit back on track.

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. "I said, 'Would you want me to open it?' He said, 'You can read it later'". Despite Kim's apparent eagerness for a summit with Trump, there are lingering doubts about whether he will fully relinquish his nuclear weapons, which he may see as his only guarantee of survival.

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.

  • Joey Payne