Trump says June 12 summit with North Korea's Kim Jong Un is back on

 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump said on Friday an unprecedented nuclear arms summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un that the United States pulled out of will now go ahead as scheduled on June 12 in Singapore, adding another twist to a high-stakes diplomatic dance.

"I think it's probably going to be a very successful, ultimately a successful process," Trump told reporters on the White House lawn after meeting with a senior North Korean official in the Oval Office.

Kim Yong Chol, a close aide to the North Korean leader, delivered a letter from Kim Jong Un to Trump. The envoy was the highest level figure from the secretive state to hold talks at the White House since a senior envoy visited former President Bill Clinton in 2000.

Trump first told reporters the letter from Kim was "a very nice letter ... a very interesting letter" but then said he had not opened it.


MORE: North Korea official meets Trump in rare White House visit

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North Korea official meets Trump in rare visit
US President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean Kim Yong Chol (L) outside the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington,DC after a meeting, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo(C) looks on. - North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's right-hand man met with US President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday to deliver a letter from his leader that could pave the way to a historic nuclear summit. Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling party executive and a veteran regime insider, arrived for his Oval Office encounter accompanied by the senior US officials who have overseen an extraordinary diplomatic opening. (Photo by Saul LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean Kim Yong Chol (L) outside the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington,DC after a meeting, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo(C) looks on. - North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's right-hand man met with US President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday to deliver a letter from his leader that could pave the way to a historic nuclear summit. Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling party executive and a veteran regime insider, arrived for his Oval Office encounter accompanied by the senior US officials who have overseen an extraordinary diplomatic opening. (Photo by Saul LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump looks at North Korean Kim Yong Chol (L) outside the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington,DC after a meeting, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo(C) looks on. - North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's right-hand man met with US President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday to deliver a letter from his leader that could pave the way to a historic nuclear summit. Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling party executive and a veteran regime insider, arrived for his Oval Office encounter accompanied by the senior US officials who have overseen an extraordinary diplomatic opening. (Photo by Saul LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump walks with North Korean Kim Yong Chol (L) outside the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington,DC after a meeting, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo(R) looks on. - North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's right-hand man met with US President Donald Trump at the White House on Friday to deliver a letter from his leader that could pave the way to a historic nuclear summit. Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling party executive and a veteran regime insider, arrived for his Oval Office encounter accompanied by the senior US officials who have overseen an extraordinary diplomatic opening. (Photo by Saul LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Worker's Party Central Committee, left, and John Kelly, White House chief of staff, walk through the Colonnade of the White House toward the Oval Office in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Friday, June 1, 2018. A top envoy from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived at the White House today to meet with President Donald Trump, the first visit by a key official from the isolated country to Washington in at least 18 years. Photographer: Olivier Douliery/Pool via Bloomberg
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: US President Donald Trump (2-R) walks with Kim Yong Chol (2-L), former North Korean military intelligence chief and one of leader Kim Jong Un's closest aides, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) looks on outside the Oval Office of the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Both Trump and Kim Yong Chol are trying to salvage a recently canceled historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un scheduled for June 12. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: US President Donald Trump (3-L) stands next to Kim Yong Chol (2-L) , former North Korean military intelligence chief and one of leader Kim Jong Un's closest aides, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) looks on outside the Oval Office of the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Both Trump and Kim Yong Chol are trying to salvage a recently canceled historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un scheduled for June 12. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: US President Donald Trump speaks with Kim Yong Chol (L), former North Korean military intelligence chief and one of leader Kim Jong Un's closest aides, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo looks on outside the Oval Office of the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Both Trump and Kim Yong Chol are trying to salvage a recently canceled historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un scheduled for June 12. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump shakes hands with North Korean Kim Yong Chol (L) on the South Lawn of the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington, DC, after a meeting, as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (C) looks on. - US President Donald Trump said Friday his summit with North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un is back on for next month, after extraordinary Oval Office talks with a top envoy from Pyongyang. Trump emerged after a more than hour-long Oval Office meeting with Kim Yong Chol -- a general facing US sanctions who is Kim's right-hand man -- saying that the summit will go ahead in Singapore on June 12 as originally planned. (Photo by SAUL LOEB / AFP) (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: US President Donald Trump walks out of the Oval Office with Kim Yong Chol, former North Korean military intelligence chief and one of leader Kim Jong Un's closest aides, on June 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Both Trump and Kim Yong Chol are trying to salvage a recently canceled historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un scheduled for June 12. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 01: US President Donald Trump stands with Kim Yong Chol, former North Korean military intelligence chief and one of leader Kim Jong Un's closest aides, on the South Lawn of the White House on June 1, 2018 in Washington, DC. Both Trump and Kim Yong Chol are trying to salvage a recently canceled historic summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un scheduled for June 12. (Photo by Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images)
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Trump appeared to significantly lower expectations for the outcome of the historic summit, frequently describing it as the start of a process and not the place where the two leaders were likely to sign any agreement. He said a number of summits might be required.

"Frankly, I said, 'Take your time,'" Trump said.

It was a extraordinary softening of tone toward North Korea from a president who last year threatened to rain "fire and fury" on the country because of the threat its nuclear weapons and long-range missiles pose to the United States.

After exchanging threats and insults since Trump became president last year, the United States and North Korea have been trying to set up the summit between their leaders. Trump wants to use the meeting to pressure Pyongyang into giving up its nuclear weapons.

Wall Street took word from Trump that the summit was back on in stride. The S&P 500 <.SPX> added slightly to what were already healthy gains, then slipped back a few points to remain up 0.9 percent in afternoon trade.  The U.S. dollar index <.DXY> added modestly to a gain.

North Korea, whose nuclear ambitions have been a source of tension for decades, 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.

SEE EARLIER: Pompeo dines with Kim aide to save Trump's North Korean summit

He wants North Korea to "denuclearize," meaning to get rid of its nuclear arms, in return for relief from economic sanctions but the leadership in Pyongyang is believed to regard nuclear weapons as crucial to its survival and has rejected unilaterally disarming.

"I look forward to the day when I can take the sanctions off of North Korea," Trump said.

Trump had called off the summit late last month, citing North Korea's "tremendous anger and open hostility."

(Additonal reporting by David Brunnstrom and Matt Spetalnick; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Bill Trott and Yara Bayoumy)

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