Summit with N. Korea is back on for June 12

Leroy Wright
June 2, 2018

While announcing that the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12 will still take place after having been canceled, President Donald Trump struggled to keep a few basic facts straight that seem crucial to the negotiations between the two countries.

Trump's announcement came at the end of a two-hour meeting in the Oval Office of the White House with North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol, who had travelled from NY after two days of talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In remarks to reporters after a meeting on Thursday in NY with Kim Yong-chol, one of Kim Jong-un's most trusted advisers, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized the security that the North could derive if it agreed to denuclearize. Likewise, Kim's letter to Trump would have been a reciprocal response to Trump's own letter to Kim on May 24 that temporarily shelved the highly anticipated meeting, Yang says. The president said his June 12 meeting will be "a beginning". "We welcome the summits that already took place between Pyongyang and Seoul as well as planned meetings between North Korean and United States leadership". "I think it'll be a process".

However, the United States leader ruled out signing anything at the June 12 meeting. The North Korean emissary was smiling.

Kim Yong Chol was allowed into the United States despite being on a USA sanctions list, and granted special permission to travel outside the NY area to meet with the president. Yet he also said at his news conference that hard work remains including hurdles that may appear to be insurmountable as negotiations progress on the US demand for North Korea's complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.

The fate of the much-anticipated summit on the Korean nuclear crisis seemed sealed a week ago, after Trump stunned the global community by saying that he'd cancelled the talks with Kim, due to some "tremendous anger and open hostility" in Pyongyang's statements.

Pompeo, the former Central Intelligence Agency chief who has travelled to North Korea and met with Kim Jong-un twice in the past two months, said he believed the country's leaders are "contemplating a path forward where they can make a strategic shift, one that their country has not been prepared to make before".

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Trump's is the latest administration to inherit a decades-long crisis on the Korean Peninsula, where North Korea technically remains at war with its USA -backed rival since their 1950s conflict.

Pompeo said they finished everything they needed to address in the morning session. Kim is likely to receive a proposal that he would have to refuse on June 12, which would prompt a reaction from Washington, Glazebrook added.

Meanwhile, back in Pyongyang, the North Korean leader re-committed his isolated state to "denuclearization," boosting hopes of what would be an extraordinary diplomatic turn-around just a week after Trump threatened to cancel preparations.

In a sign that Trump understands the risks of his freewheeling approach, the president, after praising Kim's "very nice letter", later told reporters he had not opened it. "It is very important to them".

Kim's letter to Trump on Friday will probably borrow much of the language from the statement of his vice foreign minister, said Koh Yu-hwan, a North Korea expert at Seoul's Dongguk University.

"I may be in for a big surprise, folks", Trump said.

The North Korean visit to the White House on Friday will be the first since 2000, when President Bill Clinton met senior figure Jo Myong-rok in an unsuccessful attempt to win the reclusive nation's nuclear disarmament.

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