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Kim repeats commitment to Korean Peninsula denuclearization after letter from Putin

02 June 2018

President Donald Trump says he won't impose any additional sanctions on North Korea for the time being.

In response to a reporter, Trump said he and Kim may discuss an end to the Korean War, which has technically still been ongoing - with armed conflict ceased decades ago in an armistice between the Koreas.

The Trump administration needed to issue a waiver for Gen. Kim to travel to NY, after the Obama administration in 2010 placed sanctions on him in his role as head of North Korea's premier intelligence agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau.

Kim also told Lavrov, according to Tass: "Your visit comes at a time when the situation on the Korean Peninsula is rapidly moving towards talks and consultations in accordance with the interests of the two countries' people".

As NPR's Lucian Kim reports from Moscow, Lavrov passed on "warmest regards" from Putin as he invited Kim to visit Russian Federation.

Meanwhile, President Trump will also meet Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Washington on June 7.

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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.

Trump made the announcement, just a week after he canceled the summit, after an hour-long meeting with a top North Korean official who delivered a letter from the North Korean leader. "We're willing to work with them to provide them the security guarantees they feel they need, and in fact, we're willing to go beyond that to help them have greater economic prosperity". There has been a flurry of diplomatic efforts in the past few days to get it back on track.

North Korea has made advances in missile technology in recent years but Trump has sworn not to allow it to develop nuclear missiles that could hit the United States.

Most expert observers are sceptical that even an unprecedented summit between the two leaders can lead to a rapid breakthrough, and Trump admitted it would be a long and hard process.

He wants North Korea to give up its nuclear arms in return for sanctions relief, but the Pyongyang leadership has seen the nuclear program as crucial to its survival and says it can not give it up without security guarantees.

After receiving a "personal letter" from Putin, which was delivered by Lavrov, Kim expressed hope to promote "high-level" talks in order to "continue to develop strategic and traditional relations" between Russian Federation and North Korea. Trump views a summit as a legacy-defining opportunity to make the nuclear deal, but he has left the world guessing since cancelling the meeting last week in an open letter to Kim that complained of the North's "tremendous anger and open hostility".

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Ahead of the meetings, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the North's former military intelligence chief, Kim Yong Chol, had dinner Wednesday night. "Can you believe we're talking about the ending of the Korean War?" But in March, the bellicose rhetoric gave way to a proposal for a historic summit. "There can be no immediate denuclearisation, this should be done step by step and all sides should go half-way during every single phase of this process".

"I think we would be making a big mistake if we didn't have it", he said.

The letter: The Wall Street Journal, quoting a foreign government official, said the letter from Kim Jong Un was "fairly basic".

North Korea is estimated to have more than a dozen nuclear weapons. And North Korean officials are not normally allowed to travel outside the NY area.

North Korea denied any involvement in both attacks.

The agreement was reached during talks at the Peace House of Panmunjom, a venue in the Korean Demilitarized Zone, where representatives also committed to discuss on June 18 potential athletic endeavors, "including joint entries to the South-North unification basketball game and the 2018 Asian Games".

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Kim repeats commitment to Korean Peninsula denuclearization after letter from Putin