WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said Friday he will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 in Singapore, a summit he previously canceled.
Trump received a top-level visitor from North Korea on Friday who came bearing a letter from the country’s dictator Kim Jong Un as the two sides work toward a meeting between the two world leaders.
“The relationships are building and that’s a very positive thing,” he said after the Oval Office meeting with Kim’s envoy, Kim Yong Chol, a former spy chief and currently the country’s top nuclear negotiator. It’s the highest-level meeting between a US president and a North Korean official since 2000.
Asked about Pyongyang’s commitment to denuclearization, Trump said: “I think they want to do that. I know they want to do that.”
“They want to develop as a country,” Trump said.
The official arrived just after 1 p.m. ET on the White House South Lawn, where foreign dignitaries are typically received by the President. This time, Trump did not greet his visitor in person, leaving that task to his chief of staff John Kelly and a top CIA official.
There was little ceremony and no handshake. They walked along the Rose Garden to the Oval Office, where Kim was expected to hand over the letter from his leader.
After the meeting, Trump shook Kim Yong Chol’s hand before Kim departed the White House in a black US government SUV.
Kim was at the White House for a little less than 90 minutes.
Ahead of the meeting, top-level US officials had not read the missive from Kim to Trump, but were aware generally of its contents, a person familiar with the matter said. Trump himself had not read it as of Thursday, and the White House described the envelope as sealed.
US officials learned of the letter’s substance through diplomatic channels in the absence of reading the letter itself, the person said.
The understanding among the US officials is the letter is generally positive and a step in the right direction toward a meeting between Kim and Trump.
Kim Yong Chol met this week with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
(Photo AFP/Getty Images.)