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Trump says North Korea summit will go on after meeting with top Kim Jong Un aide

President Donald Trump said Friday that the scrapped June 12 summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is back on again after a week of uncertainty.

>> Read more trending news

Trump met Friday with North Korea’s former military intelligence chief at the White House, making him the highest-ranking North Korean official to visit in 18 years. The meeting between Trump and Kim Yong Chol, described by NPR as Kim Jong Un’s “right-hand man,” lasted for more than an hour.

>> N. Korea says it’s still willing to meet with Trump after sudden cancellation of summit

Update 2:45 p.m. EDT June 1: Trump said he hopes that the June 12 meeting will be the first of many between U.S. and North Korean officials.

"I think it will be a process,” Trump told reporters after Friday’s meeting. “I never said it will go in one meeting but the relationships are building, and that's a big positive.”

The president confirmed he was given a letter from Kim Jong Un, though he declined to discuss details. It was not immediately clear whether he had read the note.

“It was a very interesting letter,” he said a few minutes before telling reporters he had yet to open Kim Jong Un’s letter.

Trump said Thursday that Kim Yong Chol planned to deliver a letter from Kim Jong Un as the two countries continued work to salvage the canceled planned for June 12 in Singapore.

Original report: American and North Korean officials held a trio of meetings around the globe Thursday. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he had a “substantive” discussion in New York with Kim Yong Chol and others. Meanwhile, a U.S. delegation met with North Korean officials in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. In Singapore, officials from both countries met to discuss logistics.

>> Pompeo: 'Good progress' made toward historic summit with North Korean, US officials

"I think it will be very positive,” Trump said of Thursday’s discussions. “We will see what happens. It is all a process."

If the summit takes place, it will be a historic meeting between the two nations.

Trump on May 24 abruptly canceled the planned meeting in a letter addressed to Kim Jong Un, citing the country’s “tremendous anger and open hostility.” However, he didn’t dismiss the possibility that the meeting could be rescheduled. North Korean officials also said they'd still be willing to meet face-to-face, despite the tension.

Pompeo: 'Good progress' made toward historic summit with North Korean, US officials

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met Thursday with North Korea's former military intelligence chief to continue discussions aimed at salvaging a scrapped meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

>> Read more trending news

Pompeo met with Kim Yong Chol, described by NPR as “Kim Jong Un’s right-hand man,” Thursday morning in New York City after the pair started discussions over dinner one night earlier.

Pompeo said after the meeting that Thursday’s discussion was “substantive” and that “good progress” had been made toward re-establishing the planned June 12 meeting in Singapore.

“We discussed our priorities for the potential summit between our leaders,” he wrote. “#NorthKorea and the world would benefit greatly from the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

Trump said Thursday morning that officials were having “very good meetings with North Korea.”

“I believe they will be coming down to Washington on Friday (with) a letter being delivered to me from Kim Jong Un,” he told reporters gathered at Join Base Andrews. “It is very important to them.”

He said he still hopes that North Korean and U.S. officials can meet next month despite his decision last week to cancel the summit amid tension with North Korea.

>> N. Korea says it’s still willing to meet with Trump after sudden cancellation of summit

"I think it will be very positive,” Trump said of Thursday’s discussions. “We will see what happens. It is all a process."

Two other meetings related to the planned summit also took place Thursday, according to The Washington Post. A U.S. delegation was meeting Thursday with North Korean officials in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea. In Singapore, officials from both countries met to discuss logistics.

If the summit takes place, it will be a historic meeting between the two nations.

Trump on May 24 abruptly canceled the summit in a letter addressed to Kim Jong Un, citing the country’s “tremendous anger and open hostility.” However, he didn’t dismiss the possibility that the meeting could be rescheduled. North Korean officials also said they'd still be willing to meet face-to-face, despite the tension.

White House: Pompeo to meet with North Korean official Kim Yong Chol in New York

President Donald Trump took to Twitter early Tuesday to confirm reports that a senior North Korean official was headed to the United States.

>> Trump cancels summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, cites 'open hostility'

Update 11:35 a.m. EDT May 29: White House officials confirmed in a statement later Tuesday that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is scheduled to meet with North Korea’s vice chairman of the Central Committee, Kim Yong Chol, in New York.

Sanders said a U.S. delegation is meeting with the North Korean delegation at the DMZ.

“The U.S. continues to actively prepare for @POTUS expected summit w/leader Kim in Singapore,” Sanders said.

Trump said last week that he remains open to meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hours after he canceled their planned summit in a letter released by White House officials. The meeting was scheduled to take place June 12 in Singapore. 

Original report: “We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea. Meetings are currently taking place concerning Summit, and more,” Trump wrote at 6:30 a.m. EDT. “Kim Young [sic] Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to New York. Solid response to my letter, thank you!”

CNBCCNN and other news outlets described Kim Yong Chol as North Korea’s former spy chief. The Associated Press, citing South Korean news reports, said he was traveling to the U.S. “possibly for talks on planning the summit on the future of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program.”

>> Read more trending news 

He is “the most senior North Korean official to visit the United States in 18 years,” the AP reported.

Read more here.

– The Associated Press contributed to this report.

WATCH: Trump welcomes 3 Americans detained in North Korea back to U.S.

Three Americans detained for more than a year in North Korea were welcomed back to the United States by President Donald Trump, first lady Melania Trump and other members of the administration at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland early Thursday.

>> MORE: PHOTOS: Trump welcomes 3 Americans detained in North Korea back to U.S. I Trump: 3 Americans released by North Korea | More trending news 

The detainees, identified by The Associated Press as Kim Dong Chul, Kim Hak Song and Tony Kim, reportedly were released Wednesday.

After Trump and the detainees briefly spoke to members of the media, the men were taken to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center for treatment, the AP reported.

>> Watch a video of their arrival

Here are the latest updates from the scene:

Update 6:07 a.m. EDT Thursday: President Donald Trump took to Twitter to share a video showing clips from his meeting with three Americans who returned to the U.S. early Thursday after being detained in North Korea.

“On behalf of the American people, WELCOME HOME!” Trump tweeted.

>> Watch the video here

Earlier Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence also tweeted about the detainees’ return.

“Great day to be an American! Because of @POTUS Trump’s strong leadership, tonight we welcomed home three Americans from captivity in North Korea. Honored to be there to say Welcome Home! #GodblessAmerica,” Pence wrote.

>> See the tweet here

Update 3:02 a.m. EDT Thursday: The three freed detainees have exited the plane with President Donald Trump and the first lady. 

“This is a very special night for these really great people,” Trump said to members of the press at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland, adding that he “very much appreciates” that North Korea released them.

Trump continued: “I’m very honored to have helped these three folks. They’ve been through a lot. The true honor is going to be if we have a victory in getting rid of nuclear weapons.”

When one detainee was asked how it felt to be back in America, he said, “It’s like a dream.”

Update 2:57 a.m. EDT Thursday: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have boarded the plane to speak with the detainees freed by North Korea.

Update 2:44 a.m. EDT Thursday: The plane carrying the American detainees has arrived at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

Update 2:37 a.m. EDT Thursday: The plane carrying Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has landed at Joint Base Andrews in Maryland.

Update 2:23 a.m. EDT Thursday: President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have arrived at Joint Base Andrews.

Photos: Trump welcomes 3 Americans detained in North Korea back to U.S.

Staging a flag-waving, still-of-the-night arrival ceremony, President Donald Trump early Thursday welcomed home three Americans freed by North Korea and declared their release a sign of promise toward his goal of de-nuclearizing the Korean Peninsula.

Photos: President Trump, Melania host 1st White House state dinner

President Donald Trump and first lady Melania hosted their first White House state dinner, welcoming French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife, Brigitte.

Royal wedding: Trump not invited, Obamas not going either, report says

Cancel that shipment of monogrammed “Harry & Meghan” towels from the White House.

CNN is reporting that President Donald Trump is not invited to the royal wedding on May 19 in Windsor, England.

>> Prince Harry and Meghan Markle seek charity donations over wedding gifts

Former President Barack Obama and wife Michelle won’t be there either, despite having a close and apparently fun-loving relationship with groom-to-be Prince Harry in particular. Though it’s not clear if the Obamas were invited and just have something else to do that day (though seriously, what could be more important than watching the current fifth-in-line to the throne say “I do” to former “Suits” actress and American Meghan Markle)?

>> On MyAJC.com: Who’s who in American Meghan Markle’s family

Apparently, the lack of invite is nothing personal where the current president and first lady Melania Trump are concerned. A White House official told CNN that no elected U.S. officials were invited to the nuptials at St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle.

>> Hospital begins preparations for Will, Kate and new baby

In fact, a spokesman for Kensington Palace (where Harry and Meghan live, along with their neighbors, Prince William and Kate and their kids) told CNN that “world leaders and political figures would not be invited in their official capacities."

“It has been decided that an official list of political leaders — both UK and international — is not required for Prince Harry and Ms. Markle’s wedding,” the palace told CNN.

>> Read more trending news 

Hmm … Technically, the Obamas no longer have “official capacities” as political figures, so maybe they did make the cut?

“The royal source would not say whether they had been invited,” CNN said.

Trump vowing to ‘forcefully’ respond to chemical attack in Syria: 5 things to know

Update Apr 9, 2018 7:30 PM EDT: President Donald Trump is vowing to “forcefully” respond to the chemical attack in Syria that left at least 40 people dead.

“It will be met and it will be met forcefully,” Trump said.

“We are getting clarity on that, on who was responsible, Trump said at a press availability at the White House late Monday afternoon ahead of a meeting with his military leaders.

“We have a lot of options militarily,” the president said.

(Previous story)

A missile strike on a Syrian air base left at least 14 dead Monday, just days after a suspected chemical attack on Douma, a rebel-held town, killed at least 40 people.

>> What is a Tomahawk cruise missile and what does it do?

Here's what we know so far:

1. President Donald Trump has not ruled out the possibility of U.S. military action in response to Saturday’s suspected chemical attack.

Trump said Monday that that he will decide how to respond within the next "24 to 48 hours.”

“Nothing is off the table,” he said. “We’re talking about humanity, and it can’t be allowed to happen.”

The president took to Twitter on Sunday to blame Syrian President Bashar Assad for the alleged chemical attack. Trump also pointed fingers at Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iran and former U.S. President Barack Obama. 

"Many dead, including women and children, in mindless CHEMICAL attack in Syria," Trump tweeted Sunday morning. "Area of atrocity is in lockdown and encircled by Syrian Army, making it completely inaccessible to outside world. President Putin, Russia and Iran are responsible for backing Animal Assad. Big price to pay. Open area immediately for medical help and verification. Another humanitarian disaster for no reason whatsoever. SICK!"

Trump later added: "If President Obama had crossed his stated Red Line In The Sand, the Syrian disaster would have ended long ago! Animal Assad would have been history!"

>> What is sarin nerve gas?

2. The Syrian and Russian governments denied the claims. According to The New York Times, "state news media in Syria denied that government forces had used chemical weapons and accused the Islamist rebel group that controls Douma, the Army of Islam, of fabricating the videos to solicit international support as defeat loomed."

The Russian government shared that position.

"Information attacks about the use of chlorine or other poisonous substances by the Syrian government troops are continuing. Another such hoax about the chemical attack that supposedly took place in Douma emerged yesterday," the statement said, according to CNN.

"We have warned of such dangerous provocations many times before. The purpose of these false conjectures, which are without any basis, is to shield the terrorists and the irreconcilable radical opposition, which reject a political settlement while trying to justify possible military strikes from outside."

>> Read more trending news 

3. The U.S. said it was not behind the deadly missile strike on Syria's T4 air base. "At this time, the Department of Defense is not conducting air strikes in Syria. However, we continue to closely watch the situation and support the ongoing diplomatic efforts to hold those who use chemical weapons, in Syria and otherwise, accountable," the Pentagon said in a statement, according to CNN

The statement came as Syrian state media said the airstrike was probably "an American aggression," The Associated Press reported. Meanwhile, Russia's Defense Ministry claimed that Israel had fired the missiles.

4. The United Nations Security Council is meeting Monday about the suspected chemical attack. “The Security Council has to come together and demand immediate access for first responders, support an independent investigation into what happened, and hold accountable those responsible for this atrocious act,” Nikki Haley, U.S. ambassador to the U.N., said in a statement.

>> ONE YEAR AGO: US fires more than 50 cruise missiles into Syria

5. The latest developments in Syria come about a year after a chemical attack there reportedly killed at least 80 people in Khan Sheikhun. According to CNN, the U.S. launched dozens of Tomahawk missiles at Syria's Shayrat air base in response to the April 4 attack.

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