World shouldn't question Kim Jong Un's motives, says South Korean defense minister

Casey Dawson
June 2, 2018

Kim Jong Un's right-hand man met Friday with US President Donald Trump in the Oval Office - talks that should include the delivery of a letter from the North Korean leader about their upcoming summit.

Trump said after an Oval Office meeting Friday with North Korea's Kim Yong Chol that he'd be making a mistake not to go forward with the on-again, off-again nuclear summit in Singapore. It has been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.

Duyeon Kim, a fellow at the Korean Peninsula said: "There are legitimate mechanisms built in for exemptions depending on the circumstance, but this could run into public and political criticism and send the wrong message to North Korea".

"We have seen history repeat, where North Korea would declare to denuclearise, thereby portraying itself as conciliatory and forthcoming, only to turn around to void all global efforts towards peace".

The video was taken at around the time of North Korea initiating talks with China, South Korea and the regards to United Nations led sanctions over North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

"We talked about a lot, and we talked about sanctions", Trump said after the meeting. "We did discuss that", Trump said.

Trump said one possible outcome of the summit might be an end to the Korean War.

"We're going to deal", Trump told reporters after Kim left.

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Trump told reporters he hadn't read the letter yet and added with a smile, "I may be in for a big surprise, folks". In this way, the video is an unusual admission of the poor state of North Korea's economy and the helplessness of its leadership.

Kim Yong Chol left his hotel in New York City early Friday for the trip to Washington in a convoy of SUVs. By the next day, he was signaling the event could be back on after a conciliatory response from North Korea.

Trump made the announcement on Friday, following a two-hour-long meeting with North Korean senior official Kim Yong-chol at the White House. He cited "tremendous anger and open hostility" by Pyongyang but also urged Kim Jong Un to call him.

Despite the upbeat messaging in the United States, Kim Jong Un, in a meeting with Russia's foreign minister on Thursday, complained about the USA trying to spread its influence in the region, a comment that may complicate the summit. 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.

"In light of how North Korea has behaved in the past, I believe that it is important not to reward North Korea exclusively for agreeing to have a dialogue", he said.

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 U.S. demands for denuclearization.

During the 2018 Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea set aside $2.6 million to cover travel accommodations for a North Korean cheering squad, an art troupe and other members of the visiting delegation.

Kim Yong Chul, who till now was under U.S. sanctions, is likely to stay in the country till tomorrow.

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