While announcing that the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12 will still take place after having been canceled, President Donald Trump struggled to keep a few basic facts straight that seem crucial to the negotiations between the two countries. "You're talking about years of hostility, years of problems".
The envoy, Gen Kim Yong-chol, hand-delivered a letter from the North Korean leader to President Trump.
Later, though, he acquiesced and said he hadn't read it.
The United States and South Korea blacklisted the official for supporting North Korea's nuclear and missile programs in 2010 and 2016, respectively. However, the story notes that most observers think there is "basically zero chance" Kim will give up his entire nuclear arsenal.
"I believe they are contemplating a path forward. We never were. I told him today, "Take your time", he said, adding nevertheless that he expects "a really positive result in the end".
"The potential summit between @POTUS and Chairman Kim presents #DPRK with a great opportunity to achieve security and economic prosperity", Pompeo tweeted shortly before the meeting began. But he threatened a flurry of new sanctions on the rogue regime if "talks break down".
The contents of Kim's letter to Trump have been the source of speculation since Trump announced the letter's existence Thursday.
"It was a very nice letter", Trump said.
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters prior to departing Washington en route Houston, Texas from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., May 31, 2018.
Kim also told Lavrov, according to Tass: "Your visit comes at a time when the situation on the Korean Peninsula is rapidly moving towards talks and consultations in accordance with the interests of the two countries' people".
After exchanging threats and insults since Mr Trump became President a year ago, the United States and North Korea have been trying to set up a summit - originally planned for Singapore on June 12 - between their leaders, at which Mr Trump wants to pressure Pyongyang into giving up its nuclear weapons.
He said signing a document officially ending the Korean War could be discussed at the upcoming meeting.
The North Korean visit to the White House on Friday is the first since 2000, when President Bill Clinton met with Jo Myong-rok, a special envoy for Kim Jong-il, in an unsuccessful bid to win the reclusive nation's nuclear disarmament. The agency quoted Kim as saying that the North's willingness for the "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula still remains unchanged" but also that the process should be "stage-by-stage basis by founding a solution to meet the interests of each other". "This will obviously be their decision", he said. Disputes between Washington and Pyongyang led Trump to cancel the meeting, only to see a renewal of diplomatic efforts in recent days.