Trump plays down chances of quick breakthrough, DPRK official brings letter

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In this May 24, 2018, file photo, People watch a TV screen showing file footage of U.S. President Donald Trump, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news program at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File)

U.S. President Donald Trump on Thursday played down the chances of a quick breakthrough in getting DPRK to abandon its nuclear arms as a delegation from Pyongyang headed to meet him, carrying a letter from DPRK leader Kim Jong Un which suggested a proposed summit may be back on.

CGTN’s William Denselow reports.

In a brief interview with Reuters aboard Air Force One on the way to Texas, Trump said he was still hoping for an unprecedented meeting with Kim on June 12 in Singapore to push for DPRK “denuclearization.”

“I’d like to see it done in one meeting,” he said. “But often times that’s not the way deals work. There’s a very good chance that it won’t be done in one meeting or two meetings or three meetings. But it’ll get done at some point.”

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said a DPRK delegation, headed by high-ranking official Kim Yong Chol, would make a rare visit the White House on Friday and give Trump a letter from Kim.

The letter appeared to be in response to a comment from Trump last Thursday when he canceled the summit, accusing Pyongyang of hostility, but urged the DPRK leader to “call me or write” if he had a change of heart.

Kim’s letter seemed to be a sign that the summit might now go ahead. There has been a flurry of diplomatic efforts in the past few days to get the summit back on track.

DPRK, whose nuclear ambitions have been a source of tension for decades, has made advances in missile technology in recent years but Trump has sworn not to allow it to develop nuclear missiles that could hit the United States.

He wants DPRK to “denuclearize,” meaning to get rid of its nuclear arms, in return for relief from economic sanctions but the leadership in Pyongyang is believed to regard nuclear weapons as crucial to its survival and has rejected unilaterally disarming.

The DPRK visit to the White House would be the first there by a high-level official from the secretive state since 2000 when senior figure Jo Myong Rok met President Bill Clinton.

Story by Reuters


Jim Walsh discusses diplomatic talks between Washington and Pyongyang

CGTN’s Jessica Stone spoke to Jim Walsh about talks between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Pyongyang’s envoy, Kim Yong Chol, in New York. Walsh is a Senior Research Associate for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Security Studies Program.