'Solid response to my letter': Trump says North Korean official headed to New York
01 June, 2018, 09:43
The Washington Post reported that the USA delegation to the Panmunjom meeting - in the Demilitarized Zone between North and South Korea - was led by Sung Kim, a former U.S. ambassador to South Korea and former nuclear negotiator with the North.
While likely substantive, those discussions could be upstaged by any talks between Kim Yong-chol and officials in the United States, said Evans Revere, a former senior diplomat who dealt with North Korea under U.S. president George W Bush. Kim is scheduled to arrive in New York Wednesday afternoon.
"We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea", Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. But somewhere in those details lies the question of whether a meeting happens and, more important, whether it resolves a nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula. Kim Young Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to NY. The president noted Kim Yong Chol's visit, calling it a "solid response" to his letter.
Kim is the North Korean ex-military intelligence chief known for having knowledge and experience on the issues of denuclearization and security. It remained unclear whom Kim Yong Chol will meet in the United States.
His journey to the U.S. caps a frenetic few days of meetings between North Korean and American officials.
US officials cast the on-again, off-again drama as in keeping with Trump's deal-making style, and reflective of the technically still-warring leaders testing each other. -North Korea talks there.
Trump favors a "maximum pressure" policy on North Korea, and U.S. and United Nations sanctions have successfully curbed its foreign funding.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's de facto chief of staff, Kim Chang Son, meanwhile, flew to Singapore via Beijing late on Monday, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported.
On Sunday, the US State Department said US and North Korean officials had met at Panmunjom, a village in the Demilitarised Zone (DMZ) that runs along the heavily armed border between North and South Korea.
The call came amid a whirlwind of activity over the possible June 12 summit in Singapore.
She added that Trump will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House on June 7 to coordinate steps ahead of the Singapore summit. NBC said the report was circulated days before Trump scuttled the meeting with Kim. Several officials, including former USA ambassador to South Korea and former nuclear negotiator with the North, traveled to the reclusive country, reported the Washington Post.
Observers believe that recent Trump's announcement of withdrawing from Iran nuclear deal has caused a huge dent on United States image.
China said it had no information to offer on any North Korean officials travelling to the United States via Beijing.
Preparations appeared to be back on track this week.
Trump confirmed Tuesday that Kim was to hold talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The United States stations 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's Defense Ministry said Tuesday there have been no discussions yet between Washington and Seoul on modifying the drills, which usually take place in August.
If Trump is unable to negotiate those weapons away and unwilling to live in a world where North Korea poses a nuclear threat, then "you're going to have to do something to go after them at some point", the senator said.
It was a purge Kim Yong Chol would survive, cementing his reputation as a hawk in 2013 when he threatened to break the ceasefire that ended the Korean War and to turn the U.S. into a "sea of fire" with a nuclear strike. He's a longtime Korean intelligence official with past involvement in many violent acts, and now he's heading to the U.S. More time is needed before the two sides agree on the timing of nuclear dismantlement and level of rewards.
However, South Korea's Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon stated that, in the name of the relaxing of tensions between North and South, there would be no restrictions on General Kim's travel to the Olympics.
The president still hopes the meeting will take place on June 12 in Singapore. Beijing backs the North's proposal for a phased and synchronized denuclearization process, while the United States insists on a comprehensive one-shot deal in which North Korea eliminates its nukes first and receives rewards later.
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North Korea's go-to diplomat: What you need to know
There has been back and forward over whether the historic meeting between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un will go ahead. Sarah Huckabee Sanders said, "They plan to have additional meetings this week" at the border area of Panmunjom.