Top N Korea official lands in NY for talks with Pompeo

Geraldine Edwards
May 31, 2018

Kim Jong Un is reportedly offering to open an American burger chain in North Korea as a "show of goodwill".

The highest-ranking North Korean emissary to meet with a United States official in almost two decades was heading to New York City on Wednesday for a confab with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as a landmark summit between President Trump and Kim Jong Un hangs in the balance.

North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol (C), departs from a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in NY, U.S., May 30, 2018. Kim Young Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to NY.

North Korea's flurry of diplomatic activity following a torrid run in nuclear weapons and missile tests in 2017 suggests that Kim is eager for sanctions relief to build his economy and the global legitimacy the summit with Trump would provide.

But Trump later said he was reconsidering his position and U.S., North Korean and South Korean officials have gone ahead with summit preparations. Whether Moon will attend depends on the result of the Kim-Trump summit, the spokesman said.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un wipes tears during his visit to the Kumsusan Palace of the Sun in Pyongyang in this 2011 screen grab from [North] Korean Central TV.

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un had been scheduled to hold an unprecedented summit in Singapore on June 12.

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If half the stories about him are true then Kim Yong-chol is a brutal and cunning character.

A senior State Department official briefed reporters separately as Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol met late on Wednesday.

Burgers also have high status in North Korea.

"We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea".

When asked whether a special waiver was needed for Kim to visit New York, Nauert replied, "Whatever was necessary was, in fact, done".

General Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the central committee of the Workers' Party and right-hand man to Kim, is also in NY, officials said.

Pompeo has scheduled a news conference on Thursday, at the end of his meetings with Kim. "We're not going to get into all of the nitty-gritty". Instead, the officials said, it brought both sides to the table with increasing seriousness, as they work through myriad logistical and policy decisions to keep June 12 a viable option for the summit. Kim Yong Chol arrived minutes later and was also accompanied by an aide.

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"They've had obviously very deep conversations, where they've talked about a lot of detail about what the United States expectations are".

Yet after North Korea agreed to the summit, those intentions were thrown into doubt when Pyongyang rejected calls from U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton to follow the so-called Libya model of giving up its nuclear weapons quickly before getting anything in return.

Their talks with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui at the Tongilgak building on the northern side of Panmunjom kicked off Sunday.

"They plan to have additional meetings this week", Sanders said.

He has played a central role in the recent thaw in relations between the North and South Korea, as well as the United States.

"Separately, Joseph Hagin, the White House deputy chief of staff for operations, and the US pre-advance team, including members from the State Department, are in Singapore this week, where they're conducting logistics of the expected summit", spokesperson Nauert added. He was granted special permission to travel to the United States for the meeting, the State Department said.

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