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North Korean leader Kim sends letter to Trump

Thompson Reuters

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WASHINGTON — A senior North Korean official will hand over a letter from the country’s leader Kim Jong Un to US President Donald Trump in a rare visit to the White House on Friday as the two sides try to put a derailed summit meeting back on track.

Trump hopes to meet Kim in Singapore on June 12 and pressure him to give up his nuclear weapons, although he conceded on Thursday that might require more rounds of direct negotiations.

“I’d like to see it done in one meeting,” Trump told Reuters. “But often times that’s not the way deals work. There’s a very good chance that it won’t be done in one meeting or two meetings or three meetings. But it’ll get done at some point.”

Leading the delegation to the White House on Friday is Kim Yong Chol, a close aide of Kim Jong Un.

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White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said late on Thursday that the details of the meeting were still being worked out. It was not clear whether Trump would receive Kim Yong Chol in the Oval Office.

It was also not clear what North Korea’s leader wrote in his letter to Trump, although it was seen as raising hopes that the summit meeting might be back on.

After trading threats of war last year, the two men agreed to meet for an historic summit on June 12. But Trump canceled last week, citing Kim’s “tremendous anger and open hostility” in a string of public statements.

Even as he pulled out, though, Trump urged Kim to ‘call me or write’ if he wanted to revive the meeting.

Within a day, both sides were in new talks to save the summit, and Kim Yong Chol flew to New York this week to meet Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Despite saying the two sides made ‘real progress’, Pompeo also cautioned that there might be no quick solution.

“They’ll have to choose a path that is fundamentally different than the one that their country has proceeded on for decades. It should not be to anyone’s surprise that there will be moments along the way, that this won’t be straightforward,” he said.

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32 dead, 1 missing in Papua attacks, Indonesian police say

AP Associated Press

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JAYAPURA, INDONESIA- Security forces tried to recover the bodies of 31 construction workers and a soldier who were killed in one of the worst separatist attacks in Indonesia’s restive province of Papua, officials said Tuesday.

Papua police spokesman Suryadi Diaz said 24 workers were killed on Sunday when gunmen stormed a government bridge construction project in a remote mountainous village in Nduga district.

Citing reports from several witnesses, Diaz said, eight other workers fled to the nearby house of a local parliament member, but an armed group came a day later and killed seven of them. However the eighth managed to escape and remains missing.

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“This is the worst attack launched by the armed criminal group recently amid intensified development by the government,” Diaz told The Associated Press.

Separately, Papua province military spokesman Lt. Col. Dax Sianturi said an armed group attacked a military post in Mbua village in the same district late Monday, killing a soldier and injuring another.

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