U.S. may end up paying Kim Jong Un's hotel bill for summit

Kim Jong Un complained of "US hegemonism" to Russia's visiting foreign minister, a comment likely to complicate ties with the USA as plans proceed for the North Korea leader's expected summit with President Donald Trump next month.

Trump announced the summit after meeting for over an hour in the Oval Office with top North Korea official Kim Yong Chol, who delivered a personal letter from Kim Jong Un. "The process will begin on June 12 in Singapore", he said.

He said it "went very well".

Until Kim agrees to denuclearization, Trump added, the USA sanctions on North Korea will remain as they are now. The US has "hundreds of new sanctions that are ready to go" but isn't going to implement them while talks are ongoing. The US leader said the missive was "very nice" - but then admitted he had not yet read it.

USA 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.

But the USA would need to circumvent its own sanctions against the rogue nation. The announcement puts back on track a high-risk summit that could be a legacy-defining moment for the American leader, who has matched his unconventional deal-making style with the mercurial Kim government.

Three teams of officials in the U.S., Singapore, and the Korean demilitarized zone have been meeting this week on preparations for the summit. The two men posed with the very large envelope in the Oval Office. He is the most senior North Korean to visit in 18 years, a symbolic sign of easing tensions after fears of war escalated amid North Korean nuclear and missile tests last year.


Kim Yong Chol was spotted leaving his hotel in New York City early Friday for the trip to Washington in a convoy of SUVs. A letter being delivered to me from Kim Jong Un.

Yet he also said a news conference that hard work remains including hurdles that may appear to be insurmountable as negotiations progress on the USA demand for North Korea's complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization. Despite Kim's apparent eagerness for a summit with Trump, there are many doubts that he would fully relinquish his nuclear arsenal, which he may see as his guarantee of survival.

The meeting followed two landmark summits between the leaders of North and South Korea in the last five weeks.

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.

Trump had called off the summit late last month, citing North Korea's "tremendous anger and open hostility".

Kim Yong Chol was allowed into the United States despite being on a USA sanctions list, and granted special permission to travel outside the NY area to meet with the president.

Pompeo said on Thursday that, after what have now been two meetings with Kim Jong Un and three with Kim Yong Chol, he believes the North is at least ready to consider addressing USA demands for denuclearization.


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