President Donald Trump said Friday that the planned summit with North Korea in Singapore is back on, roughly one week after the president sent a letter to Kim Jong Un calling off the planned June 12th summit.
A top aide to Kim Jong Un met President Donald Trump in the Oval Office on Friday to deliver a letter from the North Korean leader as the two sides try to revive an on-again, off-again nuclear summit.
Trump's announcement came at the end of a almost 80-minute meeting in Oval Office of the White House with North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol. "I told them today, take your time, we can go fast, we can go slowly. We will see what we will see". He wants North Korea to give up its nuclear arms in return for sanctions relief, but the Pyongyang leadership has seen the nuclear program as crucial to its survival and says it can not give it up without security guarantees. Speaking to journalists after the North Koreans departed, Trump initially said the letter was "very nice" and "very interesting", but minutes later said he had not read the letter yet and didn't open it in the meeting, joking that he could be in for "a big surprise".
Cho did not specify when asked about contentious issues but told reporters they did not discuss the military exercises or nuclear issues.
Plans for the high-stakes sit-down in Singapore had been cast into doubt. There's a very good chance that it won't be done in one meeting or two meetings or three meetings.
The visit marks the second time in history a North Korean official has visited the White House. A pair of USA delegations have held talks this week with their North Korean counterparts at the Korean demilitarized zone and in Singapore.
Check out the president's letter versions in the video above.
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"The potential summit between @POTUS and Chairman Kim presents #DPRK with a great opportunity to achieve security and economic prosperity", Pompeo tweeted shortly before Thursday's meeting began.
The United States and South Korea blacklisted the official for supporting North Korea's nuclear and missile programs in 2010 and 2016, respectively. The two men will meet in Singapore in 10 days as the president tries to convince Kim to give up nuclear weapons. "He'd like to see it happen", Trump said.
South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon (l) shakes hands with Ri Son-gwon from North Korea's Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the country.
On Wednesday, Pompeo tweeted: "Good working dinner with Kim Yong Chol in NY tonight".
The report by the official Korean Central News Agency did not say when the visit would take place, but the two sanctions-hit nations have been allies for decades and Washington has accused the North of assisting Syria with its weapons programmes.
North Korea has rejected previous USA calls for its unilateral nuclear disarmament and argued instead for a "phased" approach to denuclearization of the entire Korean Peninsula, which in the past has also meant removal of the United States nuclear umbrella protecting South Korea and Japan. "As we move to adjust to the political situation in the face of USA hegemonism, I am willing to exchange detailed and in-depth opinions with your leadership and hope to do so moving forward", Kim told Sergey Lavrov.
North and South Korea on Friday resumed senior-level peace talks Seoul sees as an important step in building trust with Pyongyang amid a US -led diplomatic push to persuade the North to give up its nuclear weapons.