Top North Korean Official Visits President Trump At White House
- Corey Lynch
He is the vice chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea Central Committee responsible for South Korean affairs.
At their first summit on April 27, Moon and Kim agreed to seek the declaration of an end to the war this year and push for a trilateral or quadrilateral summit to replace the armistice with a peace treaty.
Pompeo said it was unclear whether the meeting would actually take place on June 12, but said that "real progress" has been made in meetings with North Korean officials this week.
The US side is pressing its demand for "complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization".
A menu signed by Pompeo and Kim. He and Pompeo have already met twice in Pyongyang.
But relations chilled when North Korea canceled an inter-Korean meeting and threatened to walk away from the summit with Trump because of the South's participation in regular military exercises with the United States and comments from US officials. The summit never came about. That suggests Kim Yong Chol might have chosen to first go to NY because it would make it easier for him to communicate with officials in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital.
Trump-Kim summit: North Korea's ex-spy chief meets Pompeo in NY.
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Kim said he "appreciates that (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is opposed to the hegemony of the US", Interfax reported.
The secretary was scheduled to hold a press conference at the Lotte New York Palace Hotel in midtown Manhattan on Thursday afternoon, at 2:15 p.m., according to the State Department.
He said he wanted to see denuclearisation occur at a rapid pace.
"There's a long history where North Korea has viewed its nuclear programme as providing security", he said.
"He really is illustrative of the people we're dealing with in the cyber realm in North Korea".
"This is going to be a process that will take days and weeks to work our way through". But they have to denuclearize.
"If it happens, we'll certainly be ready", White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said of the Singapore summit.
The State Department official said they were seeking a corresponding commitment and "action" from the North Koreans.
To change his mind, analysts say, Mr. Kim must be persuaded of a few things: that the country, and Mr. Kim himself, will be safe without nuclear weapons; that it can control the terms of economic engagement so it strengthens rather than weakens the regime; and that Mr. Kim can present any deal as a victory for self-reliance rather than a cry for economic help.
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The key meeting, scheduled for 12 June, has been jeopardised so far by belligerent statements from North Korea and threats of cancellation from Mr Trump.
Kim Yong Chol was expected to deliver a personal letter to Trump from the North Korean leader. It's customary when you send a letter like that, that a letter comes in return. It was not clear whether the USA president would receive Kim Jong-un's envoy in the Oval Office.
But his comments Thursday come at a sensitive moment, when a senior North Korean official was in NY for talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the planned summit.
He is believed to have masterminded two deadly assaults against South Korea during his tenure as spy chief: a torpedo attack in March 2010 on a South Korean naval ship that killed 46 sailors and the shelling later that year of South Korean islands that killed four and injured 19. He has been the target of U.S. Treasury sanctions since 2010 and was believed to have traveled to NY on a special waiver by the State Department.
Gen. Kim started his career as a guard at the demilitarized zone bordering South Korea in the 1960s and later went on to be a liaison officer with the United Nations, a bodyguard for Kim Jong Il, and a military negotiator for North-South talks in the 1990s and late 2000s.
Trump had abruptly canceled the planned summit last week, citing anger and hostility from North Korea.
A senior State Department official said the goal of the meeting was to seek a broad agreement on what a successful summit might look like just two weeks from now.
Ahead of the meeting, top-level United States officials had not read the missive from Kim to Trump, but were aware generally of its contents, a person familiar with the matter said.
He was also part of the North Korean delegation to the South Korean Winter Olympics in February, where at the closing ceremony he stood stone-faced near Trump's daughter and advisor, Ivanka Trump, neither appearing to acknowledge the other.
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