North Korea: Trump says summit with Kim is back on

Mike Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol meet with delegations from the U.S. and North Korea in New York City on Thursday

Mattis was speaking at the Shangri-La Dialogue, an worldwide security conference in Singapore.

But he said that, after what has now been two meetings with Kim Jong Un and three with Kim Yong Chol, he believes the North is at least ready to consider meeting U.S. demands for denuclearization.

Deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley later confirmed to reporters that Trump had read the letter but did not reveal the content.

The president, however, did not want to raise expectations.

Typically, the person with the higher status enters the summit venue last and sits farthest from the door, said a Japanese official who had attended past dialogues between Japanese and North Korean officials.

Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the North's agency that deals with inter-Korean affairs, told Cho at the start of the meeting that the rivals should work on building "trust and consideration for each other" to carry out the agreements of the recent inter-Korean summits.

No one is saying they're sitting down in the Oval Office yet.

The president is referencing ongoing discussions with North Korea in preparation for a June 12 summit in Singapore with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He had announced just last week that he was canceling the meeting.

"I don't even want to use the term "maximum pressure" anymore", Trump added, referencing his preferred term for the punishing US economic sanctions imposed on North Korea in response to its nuclear and ballistic missile tests.

"They want it", Trump said Friday.

"We also cheer the summits that have already taken place between Pyongyang and Seoul, and the next planned summit between the leaders of North Korea and U.S.", said Lavrov, on his first visit to the North since 2009. "Our secretary of state is having very good meetings". The date for the talks has not yet been set, however, with the Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov noting that "it is too early" to talk about the meeting between Kim and Putin. "It is ultimately going to be a successful process", Trump said.

Trump referred to the letter from Pyongyang as "interesting".

TRUMP: I think it's going to be a process that we deserve to have. As Pompeo and Kim Yong-Chol are meeting in the United States, other American officials are meeting in Singapore with representatives from the North Korean government.

Trump also says he may at some point make the letter public.

However, his comments were the most positive from any United States official since the meeting was axed last week after belligerent statements from the North. But Trump said he didn't like that Kim Jong Un had met Thursday in Pyongyang with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov.

After the meeting, Trump posed for photos with Kim Yong Chol outside the Oval Office, and they talked amiably at Kim's black SUV before he was driven away.

In a 2015 speech, then-director of national intelligence James Clapper recounted a dinner he'd had with Kim Yong Chol and described him as hostile toward the U.S.

Pompeo had met in New York City with Kim Yong Chol on Thursday, paving the way for Friday's visit to the White House. American delegations are also meeting with North Koreans at Panmunjom and in Singapore as part of efforts to plan the summit, which may take place June 12 in Singapore. "But don't you think that the questions should change, to meet the demand of changing times?"

Kim Yong Chol had been personally sanctioned by the United States over his role in the North's nuclear weapons program and is thought to have masterminded an attack that sank a South Korean naval vessel in 2010, killing 46 sailors.

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