Senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol arrived at the White House and is meeting with President Donald Trump at the Oval Office as of 2:10 p.m. on Friday, June 1.
White House Chief of Staff John Kelly ushered the Kim Yong Chol into the Oval Office to meet the president. Kim Yong Chol carried a personal letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to Trump.
Kim Yong Chol met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York City on Wednesday and Thursday. Pompeo, who has twice met with Kim Jong Un, said the talks are moving in the right direction.
“We think that working together, the people of the United States and North Korea can create a future defined by friendship and collaboration, not by mistrust and fear and threats,” Pompeo said on Thursday. “We sincerely hope that Chairman Kim Jong Un shares this positive vision for the future.”
Pompeo was in the room as Trump and Kim Yong Chol met for at least 40 minutes.
The United States is seeking a commitment to complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Trump and Pompeo have both promised North Korea a bright and prosperous future should the communist regime agree to abandon its nuclear weapons.
Trump and Kim were scheduled to meet in Singapore on June 12, but the American leader walked away from the planned summit last month.
Trump’s cancellation was prompted by a drastic change in rhetoric my Kim and senior North Korean officials in early May.
Despite the cancellation, Trump left the door open for renewing the summit. Pyongyang responded with a temperate statement indicating the desire to still hold the summit.
Since then, preparations for the meeting kicked into high gear, with delegations from Washington and Pyongyang holding meetings in New York and the northern portion of the demilitarized zone.
“We’ll see what happens,” Trump said on Thursday. “It’s a process. It’s all a process. We’ll see.”
“And hopefully we’ll have a meeting on the 12th,” he added. “That’s going along very well, but I want it to be meaningful. It doesn’t mean it gets all done at one meeting; maybe you have to have a second or a third. And maybe we’ll have none.”