President Trump said Friday a summit between the United States and North Korea will ultimately take place this summer after all, following a meeting with a top North Korean official in the Oval Office for more than hour.
“We'll be meeting on June 12 in Singapore," the president told reporters after the meeting.
After arriving at the White House on Friday afternoon, North Korean official Kim Yong Chol was seen being ushered into the West Wing by the president's chief of staff, John Kelly. Trump said Chol gave him a letter Kim Jong Un.
Trump's meeting with the official in the Oval Office lasted more than an hour.
After the meeting, Trump and Secretary of State Pompeo were seen taking photos with Kim and his entourage outside the Oval Office.
Kim Yong Chol is the most senior North Korean visitor to the United States since Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok visited Washington in 2000 to meet President Bill Clinton. He is North Korea's former military intelligence chief and is one of the North Korean leader's closest aides.
The contents of the letter were not immediately known.
Kim's arrival in Washington came a day after Pompeo declared that he was confident negotiations with Pyongyang over holding a nuclear summit were "moving in the right direction."
"Our two countries face a pivotal moment in our relationship, and it would be nothing short of tragic to let this opportunity go to waste," Pompeo said in New York after meeting with Kim.
Pompeo would not say that the summit is a definite go for Singapore on June 12 and could not say if that decision would be made after Trump reads Kim Jong Un's letter. However, his comments were the most positive from any U.S. official since Trump abruptly canceled the meeting last week after belligerent statements from the North.
The two countries, eyeing the first summit between the U.S. and the North after six decades of hostility, have also been holding negotiations in Singapore and the demilitarized zone between the two Koreas.
Kim Yong Chol left his hotel in New York City early Friday for the trip to Washington in a convoy of SUVs. Pompeo, the former CIA chief who has traveled to North Korea and met with Kim Jong Un twice in the past two months, said he believed the country's leaders are "contemplating a path forward where they can make a strategic shift, one that their country has not been prepared to make before."