Syria's President Assad 'to visit North Korea'

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon speaks before he leaves for inter Korean talks

The report quoted Assad as saying: "The world welcomes the remarkable events in the Korean peninsula brought about recently by the outstanding political caliber and wise leadership of HE (His Excellency) Kim Jong Un".

According to the Seattle Times, North Korean officials have peculiar demands when their delegation travels overseas. "They seem to have figured that North Korea is not giving up its nukes and settled for pageantry".

Alternatively, US officials were considering asking Singapore to pay for North Korea's expenses, The Post said. He concluded, "I think you're going to have a very positive result in the end".

But Kim Jong Un, in a meeting with Russia's foreign minister on Thursday, complained about "U.S. hegemonism", a comment that may complicate the discussions in NY. Nothing will be signed on June 12, Trump said.

It would be the first time the North Korean leader would be meeting the leader of a foreign country in a summit in Pyongyang.

The U.S. insists that North Korea must give up all its nuclear weapons before it can shed its pariah status or get any relief from a crushing sanctions regime.

The two sides now back to laying the groundwork for the Singapore meeting on June 12, a head spinning reversal after Trump seemed to walk away a week ago amid new defiance from Pyongysng.a shift to a more conciliatory tone getting the discussions back on track.

Seoul's reaction comes after Trump on Friday said in Washington that he was going ahead with the summit with Kim Jong-un to discuss the possible dismantling of Pyongyang's nuclear program.

South Korean Defence Minister Song Young-moo also told the Singapore summit that the presence of "US forces in Korea is a separate issue from North Korea's nuclear issue".

Mr Kim, a close aide to the North Korean leader, is 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. It was an effort that ultimately failed as Clinton's time in office ran out, and relations turned sour again after George W. Bush took office in early 2001 with a tough policy on the North.

A senior official from the government of North Korea has arrived in NY.

The U.S. secretary of state, who spoke with Trump on Wednesday night and with National Security Adviser John Bolton early Thursday, was accompanied by Andrew Kim, the head of a Central Intelligence Agency unit assigned to work on North Korea, and Mark Lambert, the head of the State Department's Korea desk.

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