Trump Receives North Korean Envoy in Historic White House Visit

Vladimir Putin

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un complained of "US hegemonism" to Russia's visiting foreign minister on Thursday, as one of his top lieutenants was in NY trying to pave the way for a summit with President Donald Trump.

Pompeo met with Kim Yong Chol, one of the North Korean leader's closest aides, at the apartment residence of the USA deputy ambassador to the United Nations in NY.

He and Pompeo shook hands shortly after 9:00 am (1300 GMT) and began their talks over breakfast, with four people on each side.

It was also not clear what North Korea's leader wrote in his letter to Trump, although it was seen as raising hopes that the summit meeting might be back on. They continued to speak and posed for photos before Kim got into a black SUV and departed.

Following the meeting, Trump and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emerged from the White House alongside Kim Yong-chol and his aides, lingering for a few minutes at the White House lawn while talking to the North Korean officials before waving them goodbye.

"We welcome contacts between North and South Korea, as well as between North Korea and the United States", Lavrov said on May 31 after meeting with North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, according to Russia's TASS news agency.

Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party's central committee, was allowed into the United States despite being on a USA sanctions list, but the State Department has said he would likely need additional approval to travel outside the NY area.

After the meeting, which lasted more than an hour, Trump walked Kim out of the White House.

But he warned that North Korea must choose a path "fundamentally different" to the one it had been on for decades, adding that Pyongyang was "contemplating a strategic shift" and that talks to prepare for the leaders' summit were going well.

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Trump says "we had hundreds of new sanctions ready to go".

The United States previously blacklisted Mr Kim, who once served as a bodyguard to the current leader's father Kim Jong-il, from coming to the United States because of his role in North Korea's military establishment. But since then, planning discussions have resumed, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's high-level meetings this week in NY with the North Korean official.

He also said it was likely that more than one meeting would be necessary to bring about his goal of denuclearising the Korean peninsula but "I think you're going to have a very positive result in the end". "I look forward to the day when I can take the sanctions off of North Korea", Trump said.

Trump emerged after a more than hour-long Oval Office meeting with Kim Yong Chol - a general facing U.S. sanctions who is Kim's right-hand man - saying that the summit will go ahead in Singapore as originally planned.

"We'll be meeting June 12 in Singapore".

The two countries, eyeing the first summit between the USA 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, vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party's central committee, was allowed into the United States despite being on a US sanctions list. Moon later told reporters that the two leaders agreed the summit "must be successfully held". The lack of details served to highlight the tenuous nature of the North Korean-U.S. rapprochement.

The upcoming meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader will be the first of its kind.

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