Updated at 5:00 p.m. ET
President Trump says his nuclear summit meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is back on.
“We’ll be meeting on June 12 in Singapore,” Trump told reporters on the South Lawn of the White House, after escorting Kim’s top deputy, Kim Yong Chol, out of an Oval Office meeting.
“It will be a beginning,” Trump said of the summit, which aims to pave the way toward eliminating North Korea’s nuclear program. “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.”
Kim Yong Chol delivered a personal letter to Trump from the North Korean leader. Trump told reporters it was a “very nice letter …. a very interesting letter.” Moments later, he said he “hadn’t seen the letter yet” and had purposely not opened it.
The White House visit — the first by a North Korean official in nearly two decades — follows two days of meetings in New York between Kim Yong Chol and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Trump had abruptly canceled the planned summit with Kim last week, citing anger and hostility from North Korea. But since then, there’s been a flurry of diplomatic activity as officials worked to revive the meeting.
Trump described the session with Kim Yong Chol as a positive, introductory session.
“I think that we’re going to have a relationship and it will start on June 12,” the president said.
Trump said he did not discuss human rights Friday with Kim Yon Chol, but said he “probably will, and in great detail” during his upcoming meeting with Kim Jong Un.
Trump said North Korean officials asked about sanctions, which Trump said will remain in place.
But he appeared to soften his rhetoric towards North Korea, saying “I don’t want to even use the term maximum pressure anymore,” Trump said, “because we’re getting along.” He said the relationship between the U.S. and North Korea “is as good as it’s been in a long time.”