Japan urges caution on any North Korea agreement

Aaron Brown
June 2, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump confirmed on Friday that his summit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un would go ahead as originally planned on June 12 in Singapore, after unprecedented Oval Office talks with a top envoy from Pyongyang.

Trump warmly greeted Kim Yong Chol, the vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party's central committee, in the Oval Office, where a brief encounter meant for the hand delivery of a personal letter from Kim Jong Un became a longer discussion of areas of disagreement between the two countries. Kim Yong Chol, the most senior North Korean to visit the United States in 18 years, spent nearly 90 minutes in the Oval Office.

Pompeo 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. Meanwhile, discussions between United States and North Korean officials continue in Singapore and in the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea.

While admitting that dealing with North Korea was "going to be a process", Mr. Trump said he believed that process would ultimately be "successful".

Song Young-moo said: "Just because we have been tricked by North Korea in the past doesn't guarantee that we will be tricked in the future". But he said he would not remove current sanctions until the North took steps to denuclearize.

After the meeting, which lasted more than an hour, Trump walked Kim out of the White House. However, his comments were the most positive from any US official since Mr. Trump abruptly canceled the meeting last week after belligerent statements from the North.

He wants North Korea to "denuclearize", meaning to get rid of its nuclear arms, in return for relief from economic sanctions but the leadership in Pyongyang is believed to regard nuclear weapons as crucial to its survival and has rejected unilaterally disarming.

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The meeting followed two landmark summits between the leaders of North and South Korea in the last five weeks.

"Our secretary of state is having very good meetings", Mr. Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews before departing on a trip to Texas.

On Thursday, Kim Jong Un told Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that his commitment to denuclearization remains "unchanged and consistent and fixed", but experts warn he will seek concessions from Washington.

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.

Kim's arrival in Washington - in a small caravan of SUV's from NY - came a day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declared that he was confident negotiations with Pyongyang were "moving in the right direction".

He added: "I may be in for a big surprise, folks". By the next day, he was signaling the event could be back on after a conciliatory response from North Korea. The announcement puts back on track a high-risk summit that could be a legacy-defining moment for the American leader, who has matched his unconventional deal-making style with the mercurial Kim government.

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.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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