Trump: Meeting with Kim Jong-un to take place on June 12

Announcement for historic summit comes after visit by senior North Korean official Kim Yong-chol to the White House.

    US President Donald Trump has announced that he is heading to Singapore on June 12 to hold talks with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un

    Trump made the announcement on Friday, following a two-hour-long meeting with North Korean senior official Kim Yong-chol at the White House.

    "We are meeting with the Chairman [Kim Jong-un] on June 12," Trump told reporters waiting for him at the White House lawn.

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

    "But we are not going to sign anything on June 12." 

    Asked whether North Korea has made a commitment to denuclearise, Trump said, "They want to do that. So, we will see where it leads." 

    "I never said that it will happen in one meeting. I think it's going to be a process. But the relationship is building and it is a very positive thing."

    Following the meeting, Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emerged from the White House alongside Kim Yong-chol and his aides, lingering for a few minutes at the White House lawn while talking to the North Korean officials before waving them goodbye.  

    Earlier, Kim Yong-chol delivered a letter from the North Korean leader to Trump during their meeting at the Oval Office.

    Trump told reporters after the end of the meeting that he had not yet read the letter.

    Upon his arrival at the White House, Kim Yong-chol was greeted by Chief of Staff John Kelly before heading, along with several other officials, towards the Oval Office entrance. 

    He arrived in the US capital from New York, where he held talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday and Thursday.

    Considered the North Korean leader's right-hand man, Kim Yong-chol is the most senior official from Pyongyang to visit the US in 18 years.

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    He is the vice chairman of the central committee of the Workers' Party of Korea. 

    The last time a North Korean official visited the White House was in 2000, when then-Vice Marshal Jo Yong-rok met President Bill Clinton and US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

    Meanwhile, the head of the US delegation negotiating with North Korea said preparation for the talks are "moving in the right direction".

    Sung Kim, who also serves as the US ambassador to the Philippines, made the remarks during his visit with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha on Friday in Seoul.

    Sung Kim's delegation has been in talks with North Korea officials, led by Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui at the demilitarised zone of Panmunjom on Sunday and Wednesday.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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