Japan urges caution on any North Korea agreement

Sergei Lavrov

The June 12 meeting in Singapore, the first between heads of the technically still-warring nations, is meant to begin the process of ending North Korea's nuclear program, and Trump said he believes Kim is committed to that goal.

Yet he also said a news conference that hard work remains including hurdles that may appear to be insurmountable as negotiations progress on the US demand for North Korea's complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.

Despite recently envisioning Nobel laurels, Trump worked on Friday to lower expectations for a quick breakthrough. "The process will begin on June 12 in Singapore", he said. He spoke from the South Lawn of the White House after seeing off a senior Kim deputy who spent more than an hour with him in the Oval Office. He concluded, "I think you're going to have a very positive result in the end". Under Trump, the USA has led a "maximum pressure" campaign of military drills and strict sanctions against North Korea, which has so far refused to abandon the nuclear weapons it believes are necessary to protect it from a US invasion.

Lavrov said Moscow hoped all sides would take a measured approach to possible forthcoming talks on a nuclear settlement.

Trump's is the latest administration to inherit a decades-long crisis on the Korean Peninsula, where North Korea technically remains at war with its US -backed rival since their 1950s conflict.

Any payment for North Korean's accommodations would run afoul of Treasury Department sanctions, said Elizabeth Rosenberg, a former Treasury official.

Trump said after an Oval Office meeting Friday with North Korea's Kim Yong Chol that he'd be making a mistake not to go forward with the on-again, off-again nuclear summit in Singapore. The official, Kim Yong Chol, posed for photos with Trump outside the Oval Office, and they talked amiably at Kim's vehicle before he was driven away.




Trump told reporters he hadn't read the letter yet and added with a smile, "I may be in for a big surprise, folks".

When asked if he could offer a "flavor of what the letter said", Trump said: "It was a very interesting letter".

"Our secretary of state is having very good meetings", Mr. Trump told reporters at Joint Base Andrews before departing on a trip to Texas. But a flurry of diplomacy across two continents got the meeting back on track, and Trump announced Friday that he would attend as initially planned. White House officials cast the roller-coaster public statements as reflective of efforts by each leader to test the resolve of the other.

After weeks of uncertainty, President Donald Trump called off the summit last week, blaming "open hostility" from North Korea. By the next day, he was signaling the event could be back on after a conciliatory response from North Korea.

He arrived for the meeting accompanied by the senior USA officials who have overseen an extraordinary diplomatic opening. Who's going to pay for Kim Jong Un's hotel stay?

Trump's meeting with Kim Jong Un would be the first between a USA president and a North Korean leader since the division of the Korean Peninsula after an armistice was signed in July, 1953, following a civil war.

It was a extraordinary softening of tone toward North Korea from a president who a year ago threatened to rain "fire and fury" on the country because of the threat its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles pose to the United States.

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