Trump says summit is on before reading ‘nice’ letter from Kim Jong Un
President Trump said Friday afternoon that he had not yet read the letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un despite announcing that their summit is back on and calling the letter “very nice” moments earlier.
“I haven’t seen the letter yet,” Trump told reporters outside the White House. “I purposely didn’t open the letter. I haven’t opened it. I didn’t open it in front of the director. I said, ‘Would you want me to open it?’ He said, ‘You can read it later.’ I may be in for a big surprise.”
Kim Yong Chol, a close confidant of the North Korean leader and Pyongyang’s top nuclear weapons negotiator, on Friday became the highest ranking North Korean official to visit the White House in 18 years. The official visited the Oval Office to deliver Trump a letter from Kim Jong Un.
After the 80-minute meeting, Trump told reporters that the summit he canceled a week ago would be happening June 12 in Singapore as originally scheduled.
At various points in his remarks to reporters, Trump emphasized that Friday’s meeting was meant only to deliver the letter but ended up lasting as long as it did because they discussed “almost everything.”
“This was a meeting where a letter was given to me by Kim Jong Un, and that letter was a very nice letter,” Trump said. “Oh would you like to see what was in that letter.”
Asked by reporters for a “flavor” of the letter, Trump said it was a “very interesting letter.”
“At some point I maybe, it may be appropriate I’ll be able to give it to you, you’ll be able to see, and maybe fairly soon,” he continued.
Later, though, he acquiesced and said he hadn’t read it.
Trump canceled the June 12 summit in a personally dictated letter to Kim Jong Un last week that blamed North Korea’s “tremendous anger and open hostility.”
Kim Yong Chol’s visit to the White House on Friday came after he met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York this week.
It was one of three dialogues this week to try to get the summit back on track. U.S. teams also met with North Korean delegations in Singapore and the Korean demilitarized zone.
The contents of Kim Jong Un’s letter to Trump have been the source of speculation since Trump announced the letter’s existence Thursday. Regional experts have said it is unlikely to contain much of substance since it was delivered at the end of a week of meetings, not the beginning.
Updated at 3:31 p.m.