Korean official's US visit reminiscent of 2000 diplomacy

April FrancisJun 02, 2018

The trip is part of a flurry of diplomacy as preparations gather pace for the on-again, off-again summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12.

The delegations at Panmunjom - led respectively by Washington's former negotiator on North Korea, Sung Kim, and Pyongyang's Vice Foreign Minister, Choe Son-hui - met on Sunday and Wednesday. Meetings are now taking place concerning Summit, and more.

"Kim Young Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to NY".

Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the central committee of the Korean Workers' Party, was seen at the global airport in Beijing, after arriving on a Koryo Air flight from Pyongyang, South Korean news service News 1 reported Tuesday. Russia's foreign ministry said in a statement on Wednesday that Lavrov would hold talks with North Korea's foreign policy chief to discuss bilateral issues as well as the overall situation on the Korean peninsula.

Their talks will be aimed at determining whether a meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un, originally scheduled for June 12 but later canceled by Trump, can be restored, USA officials have said. Since then, Trump has suggested the meeting could be back on.

Pompeo and Kim met during the secretary of state's two trips to Pyongyang in April and May.

Following an unusually provocative 2017 in which Kim's engineers tested a purported thermonuclear warhead and three long-range missiles theoretically capable of striking mainland USA cities, the North Korean leader has engaged in a flurry of diplomatic activity in recent months. Kim Jong Un agrees with me on this.

Trump and Abe also reiterated their support for North Korea's complete, verifiable, and irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of its nuclear program.

It remains far from clear how Trump and Kim might be able to bridge what appear to be vast differences in their expectations for what would be a historic meeting. -North Korea working-level meeting was set to take place in Singapore.

When Kim Chang-son was asked by a reporter at Beijing airport if he was flying to Singapore for talks with the United States, he said he was "going there to play", according to footage from Nippon Television Network.

In the days since, Mr Trump's stance has once again softened, with North Korea and South Korea holding talks aimed at saving the summit.

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The April 27 inter-Korean summit, which produced a vague declaration to work toward denuclearization and a peace treaty for the Korean Peninsula, was meant to serve as a springboard for talks between US and North Korean leaders.

Kim is believed to be behind the sinking of a South Korean Navy ship known as the Cheonan in 2010 that ultimately killed 46 sailors.

Last week, Mr. Trump announced that he had called off the summit, citing "open hostility" from North Korea.

Kim Yong Chol, who is about 72, is a contentious figure outside North Korea.

Trump confirmed on Twitter that Kim is coming.

Their second meeting came after inter-Korean relations had chilled in recent weeks, with North Korea canceling a high-level meeting with Seoul over South Korea's participation in a two-week military exercise with the United States that ended last week.

North Korea also demanded the United States stop military exercises with South Korea if it truly wished for talks with North Korea, the North's Rodong Sinmun newspaper said.

China, North Korea's longtime ally and chief trading partner, has sought to position itself as a key intermediary in talks over Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program.

North Korea's mission to the United Nations in NY is its sole diplomatic presence in the United States.

The former intelligence chief is also thought to be behind the 2014 hack of Sony Pictures and was among those sanctioned by the US Treasury Department in its aftermath.

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