Kim Jong Un complained of "US hegemonism" to Russia's visiting foreign minister, a comment likely to complicate ties with the United States as plans proceed for the North Korea leader's expected summit with President Donald Trump next month.
Pompeo, the former Central Intelligence Agency chief who has traveled to North Korea and met with Kim Jong Un twice in the past two months, said he believed the country's leaders are "contemplating a path forward where they can make a strategic shift, one that their country has not been prepared to make before".
The president told reporters it was a "very nice letter" although he later said he hadn't opened it yet.
Kim Yong Chol arrived in Washington from NY, where he met with Pompeo on preparations for the planned June 12 encounter between the U.S. and North Korean leaders in Singapore. "I think it's going to be a process, but the relationships are building and that's very positive", he said, after waving farewell to the North Korean envoy, Kim's right-hand man. He said it "went very well".
He also said "we talked about ending the war", suggesting a formal conclusion of hostilities stemming from the Korean War in the 1950s could be a result of the Singapore summit. But he said he would not remove current sanctions until the North took steps to denuclearize.
Kim Yong Chol left his hotel in New York City early Friday for the trip to Washington in a convoy of SUVs.
He arrived for the meeting accompanied by the senior USA officials who have overseen an extraordinary diplomatic opening.
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Trump shifts stance on Korea summit
It was the first meeting between leaders of the two countries in 10 years. We are continuing to watch developments carefully".
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Mr. Trump views a summit as a legacy-defining opportunity to make a nuclear deal, but he has left the world guessing since canceling the meeting last week in an open letter to Kim that complained of the North's "tremendous anger and open hostility". He also added that he had not yet read the letter Kim had been dispatched to deliver, saying "I could be in for a big surprise, folks".
But Trump said he didn't like that Kim Jong Un had met Thursday in Pyongyang with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. North Korea's conciliatory response to that letter appears to have put the summit back on track.
On Thursday, after talks with Kim Yong-chol in NY, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed confidence that the process was moving in the right direction, but warned that the North's young leader must be bold enough to make a "strategic shift" in understanding that he will be safer without nuclear weapons. Despite Kim's apparent eagerness for a summit with Trump, there are lingering doubts about whether he will fully relinquish his nuclear weapons, which he may see as his only guarantee of survival.
Kim Jong Un, however, has indicated he may indeed be willing to end his nuclear program and has already demolished his only known nuclear testing site last week as a gesture that he sought peace with the U.S. That same day, however, Trump canceled the talks after North Korea issued a fiery statement criticizing Vice President Mike Pence for threatening Kim Jong Un's life.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in Louisville warned Trump to be dispassionate about North Korea.
Kim Yong Chul, who till now was under U.S. sanctions, is likely to stay in the country till tomorrow.