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Top North Korean officials travel to U.S., Singapore in summit preparations

01 June, 2018, 17:44 | Author: Kristen Ingram
  • Kim Jong-un commits to North Korea denuclearization as U.S. delegation arrives

A USA team was in North Korea to plan a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to President Donald Trump, raising expectations that the on-off-on meeting would indeed take place.

How important is it that the North Korean general is heading to Washington?

Chung Sung-yoon, an analyst at the Korea Institute for National Unification, said General Kim would be the most senior North Korean on U.S. soil since Vice Marshal Jo Myong-rok met then president Bill Clinton in 2000.

Mr. Moon said he told Mr. Kim in return that Mr. Trump has a "firm resolve" to end hostile relations with North Korea and initiate economic cooperation if Pyongyang implements "complete denuclearization".

Kim is close to North Korea's leader, and that's important, says a former USA envoy, Joseph DeTrani.

INSKEEP: So this helps to explain why it would have been that Mike Pompeo, then the Central Intelligence Agency director, would ultimately have been the person who went to meet Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, to see what the next step was.

The statement's reference to ballistic missiles echoes comments made by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last week.

Kim Yong Chol was at Beijing airport Wednesday for his flight to NY. "The Secretary will be heading up to NY tomorrow and I believe returning sometime on Thursday". They allowed Moon to push for a U.S.

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. He will be the highest-level North Korean official to travel to the United States since 2000, when late National Defense Commission First Vice Chairman Jo Myong Rok visited Washington, South Korea's Unification Ministry said.

Pence had remarked that North Korea could wind up like Libya - a country mired in chaos since it gave up its nuclear ambitions and saw its longtime dictator killed years later by USA -backed rebels.

"We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea", Trump said in a tweet.

White House also said on Tuesday that Trump would meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Washington on June 7.

"Since the president's May 24 letter to Kim Jong Un, North Korea has been engaging with the United States", said Heather Nauert, U.S. State Department spokeswoman.

Prime Minister Abe has expressed firm support for the USA throughout the ups and downs of the summit-planning process, confirming last Friday that he supported Trump's surprise decision to withdraw the June 12 summit. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will head over to NY on Wednesday to meet him. Since then, Trump has suggested the meeting could be back on.

During his tenure as a senior intelligence official, Kim was accused by South Korea of masterminding deadly attacks on a South Korean navy ship and an island in 2010.

But aides nearly immediately suggested the meeting could still get back on track.

But that did not stop North Korea's state media from continuing its criticism of allied military exercises on Tuesday, saying if Washington "sincerely hopes for the talks, it should stop the acts of threatening its dialogue partner by force". Any visit to the United States would indicate a waiver was granted.

United States and South Korean officials haven't confirmed the details of the pre-summit negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang at the border. A North Korean attempt to unify the peninsula in 1950 led to the breakout of the Korean War, in which the North and South fought for three years to no avail, leaving millions of Koreans and more than 50,000 Americans dead. In terms of the Libya style denuclearisation, we all know what happened in Libya, I sincerely doubt that North Korea would go on a follow a failed example.

While Kim Yong Chol's possible trip to the United States could further brighten the prospects for the summit, history shows that things could still crumble at the last minute even after an exchange of high-level officials.

Seoul has been advocating an alternative approach in which the North's comprehensive commitment and credible actions toward denuclearization are followed by a phased but compressed process of inspection and verifiable dismantling.

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