UPDATE 2 — 6/1, 3:28 p.m. EDT: After meeting with North Korean diplomat Kim Yong-chol at the White House Friday, President Trump announced the previously canceled meeting between the two countries in Singapore will go ahead as planned.
According to reports, Kim handed delivered a letter from Kim Jong-un to the president, the specific contents of which are still unknown, but are believed to be welcoming of negotiations on Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons’ program.
“The relationships are building and that’s a very positive thing,” Trump said.
UPDATE — 5/30, 10:08 p.m. EDT: Three U.S. officials with knowledge of a recent CIA report have told NBC News North Korea does not intend to forfeit its nuclear weapons program in potential upcoming negotiations with President Trump.
“Everybody knows they are not going to denuclearize,” said a government agency analyst.
A process that could take up to a decade and a half according to independent experts, the U.S. would likely offer to help finance improvements to North Korean infrastructure and agriculture systems, including food for the country’s poor, and sanctions relief in exchange for disarmament.
An unscheduled Saturday meeting between South Korea President Moon Jae-in and North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un has revived the possibility a summit in Singapore among President Trump and Kim may be achieved.
Citing Pyongyang’s “open hostility” in a letter on Thursday to Mr. Kim, Trump canceled a planned meeting with the North Korean leader scheduled for June 12.
At the hastily arranged meeting at the Panmunjom border village in Korea’s demilitarized zone, the two leaders met for two hours on the northern side of the Joint Security Area. The conclave is believed to have revolved only around the U.S.-North Korean summit.
Addressing reporters at the Cheong Wa Dae after the conclusion of his meeting with Kim, Mr. Moon said:
“Chairman Kim Jong-un has once again clearly expressed his commitment to the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula following his pledge in the Panmunjom Declaration and expressed his willingness to end the history of war and confrontation through the success of the North Korea-U.S. summit.”
Moon added both he and Kim agreed the originally proposed conference in Singapore on June 12 must be “successfully held.”
According to sources, Kim’s main concern is over whether the U.S. could guarantee his survival as North Korean leader should Pyongyang surrender its nuclear stockpile.
Moon later told reporters Trump’s original offer of economic assistance and swearing to the fact Kim remain as head of the government in Pyongyang was legitimate on the condition North Korea verifiably denuclearize.
Greeting the news with enthusiasm, President Trump expressed optimism on Twitter:
We are having very productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the Summit which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th., and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 26, 2018
While Press Secretary Sarah Sanders has confirmed an advance team of White House aides and diplomats will depart for Singapore in the event the June 12 meeting goes forward, the Washington Post is reporting other U.S. officials left for North Korea Sunday in preparation for denuclearization talks.
Following the meeting with Mr. Moon, North Korean state media, KCNA, reported Mr. Kim “fixed his will” the planned summit with President Trump would take place.
Despite the increased prospects since Trump’s action late last week, Senate Foreign Relations Committee member Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) said on ABC’s “This Week” he does not believe North Korea intends to draw-down its nuclear program.
“(Kim) wants to give off this perception that he’s this open leader, that he’s peaceful, that he’s reasonable,” Rubio said.
“It’s all a show,” he continued, stating the North Korean nuclear facility closed last week in front of invited news media “was a testing site. He can test [weapons] anywhere.”
[BBC] [Yonhap] [RT] [ABC News] [CNN] [Photo courtesy Leah Millis/Reuters via Business Insider]