Top North Korean official to visit NY for summit meeting
30 May, 2018, 05:29 | Author: Lucille Rivera
US President Donald Trump says planning for his proposed meeting next month with Kim Jong-un are going ahead as a senior North Korean official is en route to NY for planning talks.
"I understand that Vice Chairman Kim Yong-chol has arrived in Beijing, will hold talks with Chinese officials at the airport and leave for the USA tomorrow", a source told the media outlet on condition of anonymity.
The conference had been scheduled for June 12 in the island nation, but Trump announced last week that he had chose to "terminate" the meeting following a provocative statement from the North and its decision to skip planning talks and ignore preparatory phone calls.
Kim Yong Chol coordinated the North Korean president's two meetings with Pompeo in April and May.
"North Korea summit", Abe said in Tokyo following a Monday telephone call with Trump.
The Washington Post reported that talks inside the Demilitarised Zone would continue this week between United States and North Korean officials.
In this image made from video, Kim Yong Chol, in white, is seen at Beijing airport.
If confirmed, the visit would be part of a flurry of activity ahead of the proposed meeting between Mr Kim and US President Donald Trump.
Confirming the news, Trump said that meetings were under way about the summit "and more". It earlier reported that he was heading straight to Washington, but later said he changed his flight to NY.
Trump appeared to take credit for the recent developments, callingKim Yong Chol's visit, "a solid response to my letter".
The mission to the United States by Kim Yong Chol, who is in charge of inter-Korean relations and has been a fixture in meetings with South Korean officials - including a summit Saturday with President Moon Jae-in - would further signal that preparations for the U.S.
He also accompanied Kim Jong Un on both of his recent trips to China to meet President Xi Jinping, and held talks with Pompeo when he traveled to Pyongyang. Kim Yong Chol and Pompeo also met in Pyongyang earlier this month.
The earlier meetings focused on how to guarantee the North Korean regime's security by establishing diplomatic relations with the U.S.in return for Pyongyang giving up its nuclear program. They later reported that Kim changed his flight to go to NY on Wednesday, but it wasn't clear why.
At Panmunjom, Mr Sung Kim's team reportedly includes Ms Allison Hooker, a low-key but respected Korea specialist on the National Security Council.
The White House emphasized that it has remained in close contact with South Korean and Japanese officials as preparations for the talks continue.
The announcement comes a day after the White House described the summit as "expected" in a readout of a call between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. "That was short-lived leverage for the U.S. That was a mistake".
Trump last week pulled out of the summit with Kim, planned for June 12 in Singapore, before announcing he had reconsidered and that USA and North Korean officials were meeting to work out details.
Kim Yong Chol would become the highest-ranking official from the isolated nation to visit the US since 2000, when Pyongyang sent Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok to meet then-President Bill Clinton.
It's not really North Korean leader Kim Jong-un walking the streets of Singapore awaiting talks with President Trump in anticipation of their on-again-off-again-on-again summit on denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but he sure is a convincing look-alike.
"Meetings are now taking place concerning Summit, and more", the president tweeted.
On Sunday, the US State Department said US and North Korean officials had met at Panmunjom.
"But, as the president has said", she added, "if it doesn't happen June 12 it could happen thereafter".
As the Hermit Kingdom's black operations chief, Kim has had a bloody hand in some of the rogue nation's most notorious attacks on South Korea and even USA cyber targets.
Trump cancelled what would be the first-ever meeting between USA and North Korean leaders last Thursday, only to change his mind a day later.
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The Washington Post reported Sunday that the meeting was aimed at salvaging the June 12 summit, which Trump canceled on Thursday. Earlier this month, the president scrapped a meeting with Kim because of a harsh statement made by North Korea.
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