Kim Jong Un sent a letter to Trump. It's huge

Larry Hoffman
June 6, 2018

A top aide to Kim Jong Un will make a rare visit to Washington Friday to hand a letter from the North Korean leader to President Donald Trump.

The meeting at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom follows a meeting in NY between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and senior North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol where they discussed a potential summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Trump said he has more sanctions he's prepared to put on North Korea, but he struck an optimistic tone about the thawing relationship, partially evidenced by the fact that Kim Yong Chol is the highest-ranking North Korean official to visit the U.S.in 18 years.

Kim Yong-chol, vice-chairman of North Korea's ruling party executive and a veteran regime insider met with the U.S. President at the White House on Friday to deliver the letter.

Trump said he expected an eventual "very positive result" with North Korea but dampened expectations for a breakthrough in Singapore.

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 made the remarks in a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and the two men also agreed their countries should hold a bilateral summit this year.

"We talked about nearly everything. And that in the coming weeks and months, we will have the opportunity to test whether or not this is the case", he said.

Trump's meeting with Kim Jong Un would be the first between a US president and a North Korean leader since the division of the Korean Peninsula after an armistice was signed in July, 1953, following a civil war.

Assad is said to have told the North Korean envoy to Damascus, Mun Jong-nam, that he would make the trip during a meeting on May 30.

But on Friday, after meeting with North Korea's Kim Yong-chol, he announced the Sinapore-based talks were back on.

"There's got to be a balance here between "get-to-know" and a detailed blueprint" for moving forward, said Aaron David Miller, a former negotiator for USA secretaries of State from both parties.

Sung-Yoon Lee, professor of Korean Studies with the Fletcher School at Tufts University, said Kim may already have won by securing the summit and agreeing to talk about nuclear weapons. But talks have continued and Trump has suggested the meeting could still go forward as planned on June 12 in Singapore. "No American president has sat down with a North Korean leader at this level before", CBS' Face the Nation moderator Margaret Brennan said, adding that right now, many details of the diplomacy must be worked out. Based on the talks, Trump said the North Korean leader was committed to denuclearisation.

Trump has refused to publicly acknowledge whether he's spoken directly with Kim Jong Un ahead of the talks.

The US has stationed troops in South Korea since 1953 when a defence treaty was signed after the Korean War.

Three teams of officials in the U.S., Singapore, and the Korean demilitarized zone have been meeting this week on preparations for the summit. And he was ostensibly there mainly to deliver a letter to the president from Kim Jong Un.

On Wednesday, Pompeo tweeted: "Good working dinner with Kim Yong Chol in NY tonight".

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