President Donald Trump said Friday that his summit with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un is back on for next month in Singapore, telling reporters that "the relationships are building — and that's very positive."
"We'll be meeting on June 12 in Singapore," Trump said outside the White House. "I think it will be a process.
"I never said it goes in one meeting," he added. "I think it's going to be a process."
Trump made the announcement after North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol delivered a letter from Pyongyang's leader to the president in the Oval Office.
The envoy's visit, the first by a top North Korean official in 18 years, came after two days of meetings with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York to lay further groundwork for the summit.
Kim Yong Chol was greeted Friday by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly, who took him into the Oval Office to meet President Trump.
The president said they met for two hours.
"It went very well," Trump told reporters. "It's really a get-to-know-you kind of a situation.
"Mike has spent two days doing this," he added, referring to Pompeo. "We've gotten to know their people very well."
As for Kim's letter itself, Trump initially described the document as "very nice" and "very interesting" — but later admitted that he had not yet read it.
"No, I haven't seen the letter yet," he said. "I purposely didn't open the letter. 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 could be in for a big surprise, folks."
The White House later said in a statement that the president had read Kim's letter, without being more specific.
Trump said he and Kim Yong Chol "talked about a lot of things" in the Oval Office.
"The big deal with be on June 12. It's a process.
"We're not going to go in and sign something on June 12. We never were.
"I told him today: 'Take your time. We can go fast, we can go slowly.'
"They'd like to see something happen — and if we can work that out, that would be good."
President Trump said he still believed the North Korean leader was serious about denuclearizing the peninsula.
"Yes, he is," he told reporters. "He's going to be careful.
"He's not going to run and do things.
"I told him: 'Look, we would not take sanctions off unless they do that.'
"But the sanctions are very powerful," he added. "We have sanctions on.
"I look forward to the day when I can take the sanctions off of North Korea."
Trump said, however, that he was delaying a new round of sanctions against Pyongyang pending the summit's outcome.
"We had hundreds of new sanctions ready to go on," he said. "The director did not ask, but I said I'm not going to put them on until such time that the talks break down."
Trump further cautioned: "We'll see where it leads.
"We'll lead with June 12, we'll be in Singapore.
"I've never said it happens in one meeting," the president added. "You're talking about years of hostility, years of problems.
"There's really a lot of hatred between so much different nations," referring to South Korea, Japan and China, who all have a stake in the summit.
"But I think you're going to have a really positive result in the end, but not from one meeting."
Trump also discussed the letter he wrote to Kim last month.
"My letter was a response to their letter," he said. "The media forgot that. The media said you had a meeting and cancelled it.
"I cancelled it in response to a very tough statement — and I think we're over that.
"Totally over that — and now we're going to deal and we're going to really start a process.
"We're meeting with the chairman on June 12 — and I think it's probably going to be a very successful," Trump said.
"Ultimately a successful process.
"We will see what we will see, but I think it's going to be a process that we deserve to have.
"They want it. We think it's important—and I think we would be making a big mistake if we didn't have it.
"I think we're going to have a relationship," President Trump said, "and it will start on June 12."
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