N Korean official heads to Washington with Kim’s letter
New York, June 1
Kim Jong-un’s emissary is heading to Washington with a letter from the North Korean leader to US President Donald Trump after two days of talks here with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo that has brightened the chances of a summit between the two leaders.
“I am confident we are moving in the right direction,” Pompeo said on Thursday at a news conference here after his talks with Kim Yong-chol, the North Korean leader’s representative.
In a sign that the US and North Korea have made progress towards holding the historic summit in Singapore on June 12 after Trump had abruptly called it off last week, the New York negotiations were wrapped up two hours early.
Pompeo said: “We had a set series of items that we wanted to make sure we covered, topics which we made sure that we were clear on in terms of what our expectations were and their expectations in return of us. We achieved that.” Speaking to reporters earlier on Thursday at the Andrews Air force Base near Washington, Trump said that the talks in New York had been “very positive”, adding “I look forward to seeing what’s in the letter. But it’s very important to them”.
The talks started in New York because North Korean diplomats are barred by the US from traveling 40 km beyond the city and Kim Yong-chol needed an exemption to go to the capital.
Even after Trump said he was withdrawing from the summit citing Pyongyang’s “tremendous anger and open hostility”, the two sides have resumed talks in Singapore, the demilitarised zone on the border between the two Koreas and in New York in hopes of salvaging what would be a historic achievement for Trump.
Kim Jong-un appears to be invested in the denuclearisation talks that could translate to economic development for his impoverished country that is under severe economic sanctions.
While sounding optimistic, both Trump and Pompeo also left open the possibility that the summit could hit the rocks again.
Asked by a reporter if there would be a confirmation on Friday that the summit will take place, Pompeo replied: “(I) Don’t know.”