US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and North Korea's former military intelligence chief opened high-stakes talks in NY on Thursday (Friday NZ Time) to try to salvage an on-again, off-again summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
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. The two sides do not expect to sign any agreement on June 12, he said.
North Korea's flurry of diplomatic activity following a torrid run in nuclear weapons and missile tests in 2017 suggests that Kim Jong Un is eager for sanctions relief to build his economy and the global legitimacy the summit with Trump would provide.
Kim Yong Chol landed in NY on Wednesday as the most senior North Korean envoy to hold talks with American officials on US soil in 18 years. But his comments come at a sensitive moment, when a senior North Korean official is in NY for talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the planned summit.
After the meeting, which lasted more than an hour, Trump walked Kim out of the White House and they continued to speak and posed for a photo before Kim got into a black SUV and departed.
Citing a source familiar with US-North Korea relations, CNN reported Thursday that a US delegation negotiating in Panmunjeom, led by US Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, has extended its stay in South Korea "for at least another day".
The meeting follows two landmark summits between the leaders of North and South Korea in the last five weeks. Kim was at the White House to deliver a letter from the North Korean leader concerning the proposed summit.
"This was a meeting where a letter was given to me by Kim Jong Un, and that letter was a very nice letter", Trump said.
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Mexico , the European Union and Canada immediately announced plans to retaliate with their own tariffs against American products. Speaking from a meeting in Paris , Ross noted that talks with Europe had "made some progress", but not enough for the U.S.
Shortly after his plane arrived in New York, Pompeo tweeted that he was looking forward to meeting with Kim Yong Chol and added, "We are committed to the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".
The former spy chief's current official position is vice-chairman of the Central Committee of the Worker's Party of Korea, but he rose to prominence as Pyongyang's chief military negotiator during inter-Korean talks between 2006-08. Trump was expected to meet with the official in the Oval Office.
China, North Korea's main trading partner and a key ally, said it supported and encouraged the "emerging good faith" between the United States and North Korea.
In their talks, Lavrov relayed President Vladimir Putin's "warmest regards and best wishes" for Kim's "big endeavours" on the Korean Peninsula.
"We had hundreds of new sanctions ready to go", he said, but that they wouldn't be imposed "until the talks break down".
North Korea's nuclear weapons programme has made significant advances in recent years and poses a threat to the United States. The last similar meeting was in 2000 during the Clinton presidency.
The White House gave him a respectful greeting upon his arrival, with White House chief of staff John F. Kelly meeting him at the ceremonial diplomatic entrance on the South Lawn in full view of television cameras and photographers.