A top aide to Kim Jong Un will make a rare visit to Washington Friday to hand a letter from the North Korean leader to President Donald Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said after reporting "good progress" in talks between the two sides to revive an on-again, off-again nuclear summit.
Lavrov met with Kim after one of his aides headed to NY for talks to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in an attempt to salvage a summit between President Trump and the dictator.
Kim Yong Chol, a close aide of Kim Jong Un and vice chairman of the ruling Workers' Party's Central Committee, is the most senior North Korean official to meet top US officials for talks in the United States in almost two decades.
Pompeo, Trump's former Central Intelligence Agency chief, has travelled to Pyongyang twice in recent weeks for meetings with Kim Jong Un, and has said there is a "shared understanding" between the two sides about what they hope to achieve in talks. The envoy from Pyongyang hand-delivered a letter to Trump from the North Korean leader, after a day of talks in NY with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
After the meeting in the Oval Office, Trump walked Kim and his delegation to their auto, an honor usually reserved for a select few foreign dignitaries. The big thing will be on June 12.
"This was a letter presentation that ended up being a two-hour conversation", Trump told the awaiting cameras on the South Lawn.
Trump-Kim summit: North Korea's ex-spy chief meets Pompeo in NY.
President Trump's remarks follow months of pressure from China and South Korea on Washington to invest in the economic reconstruction of North Korea, ravaged by almost a century of oppressive communist rule.
The president said he expected a number of summits would be needed to settle all outstanding issues.
Upon arrival in NY, the former spy chief was escorted out of the airport by U.S. State Department officials, according to a North Korean official who spoke to reporters waiting for his arrival.
The visit marks the second time in history a North Korean official has visited the White House.
With the summit now back on the table, attention will likely shift to the substance of the meeting and whether Trump and Kim will be able to get on the same page about how to best denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. Kim Yong Chol is the highest-level North Korean official to visit the United States in 18 years.
The announcement reversed an earlier decision from Trump to cancel the meeting on the North's nuclear program.
He was greeted at the White House by chief of staff John Kelly and then whisked into the Oval Office.
But as he stood side-by-side smiling with Kim Yong Chol outside the Oval Office, before waving him goodbye, there was a small but poignant reminder of the scale of Trump's task.
Trump also said he viewed the Pompeo talks as a positive step, and that he "looks forward" to seeing what the letter says.
Pompeo warned at a news conference after talks with Kim Yong Chol in NY on Wednesday and Thursday that the path to better relations would not be easy.
"Normally, I would be skeptical of a trilateral format", Oba told Business Insider.
Kim is the most senior North Korean visitor to the United States since Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok visited Washington in 2000 to meet President Bill Clinton.