Pres. Trump announces summit with N. Korea back on

Pres. Trump announces summit with N. Korea back on

US President Donald Trump said Friday he will meet North Korea's Kim Jong Un as originally scheduled on June 12 for a historic summit after extraordinary Oval Office talks with a top envoy from Pyongyang.

"I look forward to the day when I can take the sanctions off of North Korea", Trump said.

South Korean Defense Minister Song Young-moo said that the global community should not question Kim Jong Un's motives, as it could hinder progress in bringing about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

"We have seen history repeat, where North Korea would declare to denuclearise, thereby portraying itself as conciliatory and forthcoming, only to turn around to void all global efforts towards peace". 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. "And we talked about sanctions", he said.

Trump said one possible outcome of the summit might be an end to the Korean War.

Seoul welcomed Trump's meeting with Kim Yong Chol at the White House.

Later Friday, deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley confirmed that Trump had read the letter, but he did not reveal its contents. North Korea followed up, however, by sending trusted Kim Jong Un aide Kim Yong Chol, who delivered the letter from Kim Jong Un to Trump.

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Yet he also said a news conference that hard work remains including hurdles that may appear to be insurmountable as negotiations progress on the USA demand for North Korea's complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization. Kim Yong Chol, the most senior North Korean to visit the United States in 18 years, spent nearly 90 minutes in the Oval Office.

Kim Yong Chol was spotted leaving his hotel in New York City early Friday for the trip to Washington in a convoy of SUVs.

Trump had called off plans for a summit in a letter to Kim on May 24, complaining of "the tremendous anger and open hostility" in comments from North Korea. Trump canceled the highly anticipated event after a diplomatic spat between US and North Korean officials, but hopes were again raised that it would take place after one of Kim Jong Un's top aides, Kim Yong Chol, visited Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in NY on Wednesday.

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.

Despite the upbeat messaging in the United States, Kim Jong Un, in a meeting with Russia's foreign minister on Thursday, complained about the US trying to spread its influence in the region, a comment that may complicate the summit plans. By the next day, he was signaling the event could be back on after a conciliatory response from North Korea. Despite Kim's apparent eagerness for a summit with Trump, there are many doubts that he would fully relinquish his nuclear arsenal, which he may see as his 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.

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