Friday, 22 June, 2018

Trump will meet with North Korean envoy -White House

Vladimir Putin GETTYVladimir Putin may be seeking to increase Russia's influence in the North-east Asian region
Lisa Bryan | 02 June, 2018, 02:49

After what seemed like an endless back-and-forth, a highly-anticipated summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12 is officially on - again.

In his remarks following the meeting, Trump stressed that the June 12 summit is the start of a "process".

His travel restrictions were lifted this week so he could fly to NY and Washington, DC to meet USA officials, the Department of State said. "I think, we will have a very positive result in one meeting", the president said. "We will see what we will see".

Trump cancelled the on-off North Korea summit in late May, blaming the country's "tremendous anger and open hostility".

After exchanging threats and insults since Mr Trump became President past year, the United States and North Korea have been trying to set up a summit - originally planned for Singapore on June 12 - between their leaders, at which Mr Trump wants to pressure Pyongyang into giving up its nuclear weapons. Agreeing to reopen the summit, based on a meeting about a letter that Trump hasn't read, makes no sense. But it captures the drama of a reality TV show and, in this case, reflects a high-stakes diplomatic one.

Trump said the lengthy conversation Friday "went very well" and called it "a get to know you kind of a situation".

The White House emphasised that it has remained in close contact with South Korean and Japanese officials as preparations for the talks continue.

"The process will begin on June 12 in Singapore", he told White House reporters.

The North Korean official is carrying a letter to Trump from Kim Jong Un.


On the same day in Pyongyang, Kim Jong Un told Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that his commitment to denuclearisation remains "unchanged and consistent and fixed", but experts warn that he will likely seek deep concessions from Washington. By the next day, he was signaling the event could be back on after a conciliatory response from North Korea.

Trump said the letter from Kim, hand-delivered by Kim Yong Chol, was "very nice" and "very interesting" - but then said he had not opened it yet. Can you believe that we're talking about the ending of the Korean what you talking about 70 years here.

The meeting between Lavrov and Kim lays bare Russia's desire to involve itself in diplomatic relations between North Korea and the USA ahead of next month's crucial summit.

He also urged the state to hold off on relinquishing their nuclear weapons until tangible action had been taken to lift the economic stranglehold. Trump was expected to meet with the official in the Oval Office.

Pompeo touts "real progress" toward Korea summit State Dept releases worldwide cyber recommendations for Trump MORE in NY this week.

Ahead of the meetings, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the North's former military intelligence chief, Kim Yong Chol, had dinner Wednesday night.

"We welcome the contacts that have been developing in the recent months between North and South Korea, between North Korea and the United States", Lavrov said in comments to the media.

"We will push forward to test the proposition that we can achieve that outcome", he said.

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.

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