WASHINGTON – A delegation of North Korean officials will hand deliver President Donald Trump a letter from Kim Jong-un, Trump said Thursday.
The delegation, which held formal talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York Thursday, will deliver the letter on Friday in Washington, according to the American president.
Trump said the talks in New York are “very positive”, and that he “looks forward to seeing what’s in the letter”.
“I think it’ll be very positive,” Trump told reporters before departing Washington for Texas. “It’s all a process. We’ll see, and hopefully we’ll have a meeting on the 12th. 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.”
Pyongyang has been holding direct dialogue with its stated enemies South Korea and the United States as they seek an elusive denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.
Kim’s outreach is set to escalate further if he holds an unprecedented summit with U.S. President Donald Trump as planned on June 12 in Singapore, though Trump’s erratic cancellation and then un-cancellation of the meeting has thrown it into doubt.
Onlookers suggest the North may be seeking economic relief, having faced years of escalating sanctions, especially since Trump took office last year.
Pompeo, who has been critical to Trump’s North Korea negotiation efforts since even before assuming the top diplomatic post last month, said after meeting with North Korean Vice Chairman Kim Yong-chol in New York that he believes North Korea is “contemplating a path forward where they can make a strategic shift, one that their country has not been prepared to make before”.
“It will take bold leadership from Chairman Kim Jong-un if we are to able seize this once in a lifetime opportunity to change the course for the world,” he said, emphasizing he is “confident” Washington and Pyongyang are “headed in the right direction” ahead of the planned summit.
He said he made clear during his meetings with Kim Yong-chol that Trump is seeking the “complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization [sic] of the Korean peninsula”.