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Top North Korean aide at White House delivering Kim Jong Un letter to President Trump

President Donald Trump walks to Marine One before departing from the South Lawn of the White House on May 29, 2018 in Washington, D.C. (Olivier Douliery/Abaca Press/TNS)
June 01, 2018

North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is having one of his top aides hand deliver a letter to President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday. The aide – the highest-ranking official to visit in 18 years – arrived Friday afternoon around 1:15 p.m. EST.

The letter was described as rather simple and is said to express North Korea’s interest in meeting with the U.S. without having to make significant concessions.

One of the highest-ranking North Korean officials, Kim Yong Chol, met twice this week with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York City to discuss a potential upcoming summit between the two nations that would aim to tackle denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Trump canceled the previously scheduled summit on June 12 in Singapore. While no new date has been set, Pompeo spoke positively about his meetings with Chol.

“Substantive talks with the team from #NorthKorea. We discussed our priorities for the potential summit between our leaders,” Pompeo tweeted Thursday.

“Good progress today during our meetings with Kim Yong Chol and his team,” he added.

“The proposed summit offers a historic opening for @POTUS and Chairman Kim to boldly lead U.S. and #DPRK into a new era of peace, prosperity, and security. Our countries face a pivotal moment in which it could be nothing short of tragic to let this opportunity go to waste,” Pompeo said.

Pompeo had a working dinner with Chol on Wednesday night after he arrived in New York, and the two met again on Thursday. Vice Chairman Kim Young Chol, a four-star general, is the highest-ranking North Korean official to visit the U.S. since 2000.

The Secretary of State also met with President Trump this week, and there have been meetings between U.S. and North Korean officials taking place in the Demilitarized Zone on the Korean Peninsula, as well, all in an international effort to try and save the historic summit between the two nations.

Pompeo on Thursday tweeted that the potential summit “presents … a great opportunity to achieve security and economic prosperity.”

Any feedback from officials regarding North Korea-U.S. meetings this week has been positive, but mum is the word on whether or not a summit will actually take place.

On Thursday, the President tweeted: “Very good meetings with North Korea.”

The goal of a summit between North Korean and the U.S. would be complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, officials have said.

There is no confirmation, but there is speculation that the previously scheduled June 12 summit between Trump and Kim could be back on the table, or that a meeting could take place on a different date.

The President in May both announced and later canceled the June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un in Singapore. Since then, there has been some international back-and-forth about meetings and now, possibly bringing the summit back on the table.

“We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea. Meetings are currently taking place concerning Summit, and more. Kim Young Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to New York. Solid response to my letter, thank you,” the President recently tweeted, referring to the letter he sent in May telling Kim Jong Un that he was cancelling the Singapore summit.

Trump in May said he was canceling the anticipated summit over new hostilities North Korea had expressed through its state media.

North Korea shortly after issued a statement and said it still wanted to resolve issues with the United States, the state-run news agency KCNA had reported.

Then, over the weekend, there was a surprise meeting between North and South Korean officials, which was reportedly requested by Kim Jong Un, to discuss reviving the summit.

North Korea had itself twice threatened to cancel the upcoming summit, most recently when it threatened to cancel if the United States keeps up “evil acts.”

North Korea first threatened to cancel the much-anticipated summit with the United States after it had cancelled high-level meetings with South Korea earlier in May, because South Korea and the U.S. conducted military exercises. North Korea views such military drills as practice for invasion of its country.

South Korea asked not to participate in the military drills, and the U.S. later cancelled a planned military exercise earlier this month with B-52 bombers and South Korean planes over South Korea’s worries that the exercise could jeopardize the upcoming U.S.-North Korea summit.

In May, North Korea also claimed it had dismantled and destroyed its only known nuclear testing site, which was witnessed by international journalists, including Americans.

This all came just days after North Korea released three American detainees to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on his second visit to the isolated regime in weeks, and after President Trump first announced that the highly anticipated summit with Kim Jong Un would be held in Singapore on June 12.