Tuesday, 21 August, 2018

The summit's back on: Trump welcomes NKorean to WH

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is set for talks in North Korea Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is set for talks in North Korea Credit AP
Andrew Cummings | 06 June, 2018, 01:10

Trump made the remarks at the White House after his nearly two-hour meeting with a senior official from Pyongyang who delivered a personal letter from Kim Jong Un to Trump.

The White House visit - the first by a North Korean official in almost two decades - follows two days of meetings in NY between Kim Yong Chol and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Last week, Trump had abruptly canceled the historic Singapore meeting arranged by US and North Korean officials after North Korea sent a bellicose letter critical of Vice President Mike Pence.

Kim Yong Chol, the North Korean leader's top aide, is the highest-ranking North Korean official to visit the United States in 18 years, and his trip to the White House will be a highly symbolic sign of easing tensions after fears of war escalated amid North Korean nuclear and missile tests last year.

Interested in North Korea? "North Korea will receive relief only when it demonstrates verifiable and irreversible steps to denuclearisation", Mattis added. The two men will meet in Singapore in 10 days as the president tries to convince Kim to give up nuclear weapons. One year ago, just 9 per cent of South Koreans approved of the new United States president, largely because they didn't know what to expect from the political newcomer, analysts say. At some point, the president says, he looks forward to lifting sanctions against North Korea.

Check out the president's letter versions in the video above. He also said it was likely that more than one meeting would be necessary to bring about his goal of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula but "I think you're going to have a very positive result in the end".

The visit comes just weeks before the high-profile summit in Singapore where President Donald Trump is expected to meet the leader of the Democratic Republic of North Korea.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We're not going to go in and sign something on June 12, and we never were. As many as 200,000 North Korean citizens who have committed no crime are held without any semblance of due process in labor camps where they face starvation, torture, backbreaking labor, a daily fear of execution, and no chance of release or escape.

The North also demands the repatriation of a dozen North Korean restaurant workers, who came to the South in 2016 via China.

Kim Yong-chol is a close aide of Kim Jong-un and is vice chairman of the ruling Workers Party's central committee.

Kim Yong Chol, who is making his first U.S. visit, is the most senior North Korean on USA soil since Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok met then-president Bill Clinton in 2000. "It went very well", the president told reporters following the letter-delivery. Pompeo spoke to reporters at a news conference in NY after meeting Thursday with former North Korean military intelligence chief Kim Yong Chol.

The president is referencing ongoing discussions with North Korea in preparation for a June 12 summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

North Korea suggested they hold a joint celebration of the anniversary of a 2000 inter-Korean summit this month in the South, an official at Seoul's unification ministry told reporters.

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