President Trump: Summit With Kim Jong Un Is On For June 12 President Trump says his summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is back on for June 12 in Singapore. The announcement follows a White House meeting with Kim's top deputy Kim Yong Chol.
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President Trump: Summit With Kim Jong Un Is On For June 12

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President Trump: Summit With Kim Jong Un Is On For June 12

President Trump: Summit With Kim Jong Un Is On For June 12

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MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

President Trump's nuclear summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is officially back on. The two are expected to meet in Singapore in less than two weeks, the same date they had originally agreed to. They'll be talking about dismantling North Korea's nuclear program. Outside the White House today, Trump told reporters he believes the summit will launch a new relationship between the United States and North Korea.

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PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: It'll be a beginning. I don't say and I've never said it happens in one meeting. You're talking about years of hostility, years of problems, years of really hatred between so many different nations. But I think you're going to have a very positive result.

KELLY: News that the summit is on again came after a lengthy Oval Office meeting between the president and one of Kim Jong Un's top deputies. NPR's Scott Horsley is at the White House. And he's on the line now. Hey, Scott.

SCOTT HORSLEY, BYLINE: Hi, Mary Louise.

KELLY: All right, so before we get to the summit in Singapore which is now back on again, get to this meeting in the White House today, which was quite something in its own right.

HORSLEY: Yeah. Kim Yong Chol is the first North Korean official to visit the White House in almost two decades. You have to go back to the end of the Clinton administration to find anything like this. And he arrived at the South Portico this afternoon with very little fanfare, actually. He was whisked into the Oval Office by chief of staff John Kelly. And he was ostensibly there mainly to deliver a letter to the president from Kim Jong Un.

But he wound up staying for well over an hour. The president later called it a get-to-know-you-plus meeting. And when it was over, the president escorted Kim Yong Chol out onto the South Lawn. They posed for some pictures there along with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. And then the president told the assembled reporters, pack your bags; we're going to Singapore after all.

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TRUMP: I think it's going to be a process that we deserve to have. I mean, we really deserve - they want it. We think it's important. And I think we would be making a big mistake if we didn't have it. I think we're going to have a relationship, and it'll start on June 12.

HORSLEY: And in talking about this summit as the start of a process, the president is sort of lowering expectations that he's going to come away with some grand disarmament deal. Instead he's just talking about getting the ball rolling in that direction.

KELLY: And just to remind people, I mean, it was a week and a day ago that President Trump pulled out of this summit meeting, said it's off. What has changed? How did we get back to it's game-on June 12?

HORSLEY: Well, last Thursday, White House officials said, you know, the North Koreans hadn't been answering their phone calls. They didn't show up for a preparatory meeting. But since the president made that announcement, we've seen a flurry of diplomatic activity. In addition to this meeting here at the White House today, there was a meeting with the secretary of state in New York City.

Separate talks have been going on in Singapore and along the Demilitarized Zone along the border between North and South Korea. A State Department official said all of this is aimed at deciding whether they have the makings of a successful summit between the president and Kim Jong Un, and ultimately the president decided they do.

KELLY: And, Scott, do we have any more insight into what would count as a successful summit from the North Koreans' point of view, what they want in exchange for at least starting talks about maybe giving up their nukes?

HORSLEY: Well, certainly they want some sort of guarantee of security. That's the reason they have the nuclear weapons. Separately, North and South Korea have also been talking about having talks of their own on reuniting families separated by the Korean War. And Trump hinted today at a broader peace agreement.

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TRUMP: We did discuss that, the ending of the Korean War. Can you believe that we're talking about the ending of the Korean War? You're talking about 70 years.

HORSLEY: Trump also talked about economic help for North Korea. Although he said that's likely to come from the country's neighbors rather than the United States.

KELLY: All right, thank you, Scott.

HORSLEY: You're welcome.

KELLY: That's NPR's Scott Horsley.

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