President Donald Trump said on Friday a nuclear arms summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the United States pulled out of will now go ahead as scheduled on June 12 in Singapore, adding another twist to a high-stake diplomatic dance.
"I think it's probably going to be a very successful, ultimately a successful process," Trump told reporters on the White House lawn after meeting with a senior North Korean official in the Oval Office.
Kim Yong Chol, a close aide to the North Korean leader, was the highest-level figure from the secretive state to hold talks at the White House since a senior envoy visited former President Bill Clinton in 2000. He delivered a letter from Kim Jong Un to Trump.
The president said he expected a number of summits would be needed to settle all outstanding issues.
"Frankly, I said, 'Take your time,'" Trump said.
After exchanging threats and insults since Trump became president last year, the United States and North Korea have been trying to set up the summit between their leaders. Trump wants to use the meeting to pressure Pyongyang into giving up its nuclear weapons.
North Korea, 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 North Korea 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.
"I look forward to the day when I can take the sanctions off of North Korea," Trump said.
Trump canceled the summit late last month, citing North Korea's "tremendous anger and open hostility."
© 2018 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.
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