Published: Sat, June 02, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Trump Receives North Korean Envoy in Historic White House Visit

Trump Receives North Korean Envoy in Historic White House Visit

Their talks will be aimed at determining whether a meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un, originally scheduled for June 12 but later cancelled by Trump, can be restored, US officials have said.

"I've never said it happens in one meeting", the president added. "I think it's going to be a process, but the relationships are building and that's very positive", he said, after waving farewell to the North Korean envoy, Kim's right-hand man.

"At the same time as working to achieve the goal of denuclearization, we should also build long-term and effective initiatives to keep peace on the Korean peninsula", Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said in Beijing.

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

The key meeting, scheduled for 12 June, has been jeopardised so far by belligerent statements from North Korea and threats of cancellation from Mr Trump.

USA -ally South Korea and North Korea have technically been at war for decades, even though the Korean War's military combat ended in 1953, because a peace agreement was never signed.

The contents of Kim's letter to Trump have been the source of speculation since Trump announced the letter's existence Thursday. By the next day, he was signalling the event could be back on after a conciliatory response from North Korea.

White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said late on Thursday that the details of Friday's meeting between Kim Yong-chol and Trump in Washington were still being worked out. "You're talking about years of hostility, years of problems".

Most expert observers are sceptical that even an unprecedented summit between the two leaders can lead to a rapid breakthrough, and Trump admitted it would be a long and hard process.

Former four-star general and chairman of the Institute for the Study of War Jack Keane told Fox News that Trump would not engage in game-playing with his North Korean counterpart over their Singapore summit.

When asked if the option of holding this meeting in Beijing was discussed, Peskov said: "No, not particularly [in Beijing], this is not discussed".

Kim Yong Chol left his hotel in New York City early today for the trip to Washington in a convoy of SUVs.

Trump made the announcement after receiving a visit from one of Kim's top aides, Kim Yong Chol, who delivered a letter from Kim Jong Un to Trump in the Oval Office, reports CNN.

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.

The letter from Kim Jong Un had to first be inspected by United States officials before it was delivered to the president, a White House official confirmed.

"I look forward to the day I can take the sanctions off North Korea", Trump added. But there are lingering doubts on whether he will ever fully relinquish his nuclear arsenal, which he may see as his only guarantee of survival in a region surrounded by enemies.

He would not say that the summit is a definite go for Singapore on June 12 and could not say if that decision would be made after Trump reads Kim Jong-un's letter.

The White House said talks of the "total denuclearization of the peninsula" do not extend to US weapons systems - a defense umbrella covering South Korea that includes nuclear-armed submarines and strategic bombers capable of carrying nuclear bombs not based on the peninsula.

1 June: Senior North Korean envoy Gen Kim Yong-chol delivers a letter from Mr Kim in person at the White House. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) tweeted after Trump announced the cancellation of the meeting.

"I told them, take your time".

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