Top North Korean official expected to deliver letter to Trump in Washington

Sergei Lavrov

GETTYSergei Lavrov is set to visit North Korea following an invitation from Ri Yong-ho

The Japanese and South Korean defence ministers were speaking at an global security conference in Singapore, which is set to host the landmark summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un on June 12.

"We talked about it".

"Historically it's very important, but we'll see".

United States officials with knowledge of the letter's contents said it did not make any noteworthy threats or concessions, and was seen as a positive step, according to multiple news reports.

Trump has refused to publicly acknowledge whether he's spoken directly with Kim Jong Un ahead of the talks. He is the most senior North Korean to visit the White House in 18 years, a highly symbolic sign of easing tensions after fears of war escalated amid North Korean nuclear and missile tests last year.

On Thursday, Kim Jong Un told Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov that his commitment to denuclearization remains "unchanged and consistent and fixed", but experts warn he will seek concessions from Washington. That was the last time the two sides, which are technically at war, attempted to arrange a leadership summit.

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 and Secretary of State Madeleine Albright.

At the same games, the International Olympic Committee paid for 22 North Korean athletes to travel to the event.

In addition to an end to the war, he is likely to seek worldwide recognition as well as guarantees against any strike by the U.S. forces stationed in South Korea. He said it "went very well". An aide later confirmed he did after the talks.

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Any payment for North Korean's accommodations would run afoul of Treasury Department sanctions, said Elizabeth Rosenberg, a former Treasury official. Since the short-lived boycott threat, diplomats from both countries have conducted an intense flurry of talks, culminating this week when Pompeo sat down in NY with Kim's envoy.

The North Korean envoy, a close confidant of Kim Jong-un, arrived in Washington after two days of talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in NY.

"I believe they are contemplating a path forward". The country's outdated and underused Soviet-era aircraft may require a landing in China due to concerns it won't make the 3,000-mile trip - a visit that would likely require a plausible cover story to avoid embarrassment.

The flurry of diplomacy has also seen a rapprochement on the Korean peninsula, with the two Koreas holding high-level talks Friday at the border truce village of Panmunjom.

The content of the letter was not immediately known, but according to the Wall Street Journal, Kim Jong-un is believed to have expressed interest in a summit meeting with Trump.

Kim Jong Un, however, has indicated he may indeed be willing to end his nuclear program and has already demolished his only known nuclear testing site last week as a gesture that he sought peace with the U.S. That same day, however, Trump canceled the talks after North Korea issued a fiery statement criticizing Vice President Mike Pence for threatening Kim Jong Un's life.

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

"We will calmly, and with expectation, watch the historic meeting in Singapore".

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