Kim Jong-un's right-hand man will fly to NY on Wednesday to meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as part of preparations for the meeting between the North Korean leader and Donald Trump in Singapore next month.
"We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea", the president tweeted Tuesday morning. The countries were expected to hold another set of working-level meetings in Singapore to discuss protocol, security and other logistical issues for the summit.
Kim Yong Chol's trip comes as the United States and North Korea attempt to revive the summit, a potential diplomatic triumph for two countries technically still at war.
"Solid response to my letter, thank you!" tweeted Trump.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said "real progress" had been made in NY talks with Kim's right-hand man, while in Pyongyang the Korean leader re-committed to "denuclearization".
But it's widely believed that their meeting is for the final coordination of the agenda for the Pyongyang-Washington summit - how North Korea will denuclearize. and how the US will guarantee the Kim Jong-un regime's security. South Korea's Yonhap news agency cited diplomatic sources as saying that Kim was on an Air China flight to NY that departed later Wednesday afternoon.
The reports indicate that planning for the historic summit, initially scheduled for June 12, is moving ahead after Trump called it off last week. Officials are discussing the substance of any summit agreement, focusing on the thorny issue of denuclearization, with a North Korean team led by Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui.
Pompeo has traveled to Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, twice in recent weeks for meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and has said there is a "shared understanding" between the two sides about what they hope to achieve.
And on Sunday, the U.S. State Department said American and North Korean officials had met at Panmunjom.
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Trilateral summit: Moon, Kim, and Trump? "What's uncertain for Kim is not his intention to denuclearize, but the US stance in hostile relations with North Korea and whether the USA can really secure and guarantee his regime".
North Korean leader Kim's de facto chief of staff, Kim Chang Son, meanwhile, flew to Singapore, the scheduled site of the meeting, via Beijing late on Monday, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported.
North Korea defends its nuclear and missile programmes as a deterrent against perceived aggression by the U.S., which keeps 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war, which ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. "South Korea alliance, complete expulsion - the eviction of USA troops and US military assets - from the Korean peninsula", Tufts University professor Sung Yoon Lee told VOA News. He also visited South Korea in February to attend the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics at the start of Kim Jong Un's charm offensive.
"President Trump will meet with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan on June 7th here at the White House", she said.
US and North Korean officials are charging ahead with negotiations in multiple locations to set a joint agenda and lay groundwork for the June 12 summit in Singapore between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. According to TBS, it will be headed by the head of Committee of the State Council of the DPRK. -North Korea summit, the White House said on Monday.
The United States has struggled to slow the isolated country's weapons programs, which have become a security priority for Washington given Pyongyang's promise to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the US mainland. They allowed Moon to push for a U.S.
The general is a notorious figure in South Korea, where he is accused of masterminding the 2010 sinking of the Cheonan navy corvette, which killed 46 sailors, an attack for which North Korea denies responsibility. In addition, teams of US officials have arrived at the Korean demilitarized zone and in Singapore to prepare for the meeting. "Xi has just had two summits with North Korea, relations with South Korea are improving, and at least right now the picture on US-China trade isn't as bad as it might have been".
The United States has demanded the "complete, verifiable, and irreversible" dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear weapons programme.