Trump Receives North Korean Envoy in Historic White House Visit

Nikki Haley

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The US president now says he still hopes to meet Kim in Singapore on June 12 and pressure him to give up his nuclear weapons, although he conceded on Thursday that might require more rounds of direct negotiations.

U.S. officials now expect the summit to go ahead, but they want Pyongyang to accept that nuclear disarmament be at the heart of the discussion - and warn there can be no end to trade sanctions without it. "So far, the readout from these meetings has been positive, and we'll continue to move forward in them".

Kim Yong Chol was greeted Friday by White House chief of staff John Kelly, who brought him inside the White House to meet President Donald Trump.

Trump had mused that Kim Jong-un's "attitude" had changed after the North Korean leader's surprise visit to China two weeks ago, suggesting China was pushing Kim Jong-un away from the table. -North Korea meetings, "South Korea and the United States have been in consultation almost daily through many phone calls between Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Secretary of State Pompeo, as well as through diverse diplomatic channels at various levels".

Pompeo, Trump's former Central Intelligence Agency chief, has travelled to Pyongyang twice in recent weeks for meetings with Kim Jong Un.

Scheduled to happen in Singapore, the historic meeting between Mr Trump and Kim Jong-un would be the first between sitting USA and North Korean leaders.

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Cheong Wa Dae confirmed Wednesday it had sent an official to Singapore to prepare for Moon's official visit to the city state in July, but it triggered speculation that Seoul may be preparing for a three-way summit between the two Koreas and the US.

Kim Yong-chol, the right-hand man of DPRK leader Kim Jong-un, is in the United States and is set to visit the White House on Friday as the two sides scramble to get the Kim-Trump summit back on track after the U.S. president canceled it. Trump's letter, the aides said, was created to pressure the North on the worldwide stage for appearing to have cold feet. Kim has already had two meetings each with Chinese leader Xi Jinping and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gestures to North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol during their meeting in NY, U.S., May 31, 2018.

He reiterated President Trump's promise of security and prosperity for North Korea if it ends its nuclear program.

It's the highest-level official North Korean visit to the U.S. in 18 years.

"If Kim Jong Un denuclearizes, there is a brighter path for North Korea", he said. "He said that North Korea was under siege by its closest neighbors, who were supported, aided and abetted by the United States".

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Invoking the possibility of a secure and prosperous future, Mr. Pompeo made clear that the United States is looking for the "complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", a formulation to which North Korea has yet to agree.

The White House has said preparations for a meeting were going ahead.

Experts cautiously raised the possibility Thursday that South Korea, North Korea and the United States could declare an end to the Korean War in Singapore following a Pyongyang-Washington summit later this month, amid preparations in full swing for the historic summit.

The Kim-Trump meeting was originally scheduled for June 12, 2018, but was later cancelled by the office of Donald Trump.

"Moscow wants to be in the loop concerning the latest developments, especially with respect to the likely summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un", Lukin said.

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