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New Details Emerge on North Korean Official's Visit to NY

New Details Emerge on North Korean Official's Visit to NY

The US and South Korea previously blacklisted Kim Yong Chol for supporting the North's nuclear and missile programmes in 2010 and 2016, respectively.

"Solid response to my letter, thank you!"

North Korea's Kim Yong-chol - the regime's former spy chief and the current director of its department for inter-Korean relations - was spotted taking a flight bound for NY on Tuesday afternoon in Beijing.

The North Korean envoy was scheduled to fly to the United States on Wednesday after speaking to Chinese officials in Beijing, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said.

Now, it appears that Pompeo is getting ready for another round of discussions with Kim Yong Chol. A US delegation was holding talks with North Korean officials on May 27, 2018, at th border truce village od Panmunjom amid preparations for a summit between the two countries' leaders, US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement.

US diplomatic officials with expertise in nuclear issues are talking to the Pyongyang team led by Choe Son Hui, vice foreign minister, at Tongilgak, a building inside the North Korean side of Panmunjom.

He holds a number of senior positions within North Korea's communist hierarchy.

The North Korean official was confirmed to be on flight CA981 bound for NY.

Their second meeting came after inter-Korean relations had chilled in recent weeks, with North Korea canceling a high-level meeting with Seoul over South Korea's participation in a two-week military exercise with the United States that ended last week. He is considered to be Kim Jong-un's right-hand man and serves as the vice central committee chairman of the North's ruling Workers' Party.

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The foreign ministry said in a statement Wednesday that Lavrov would hold talks with North Korea's foreign policy chief to discuss bilateral issues as well as the overall situation on the Korean Peninsula.

In Korea's demilitarized zone, a USA delegation is meeting with North Koreans to work on summit preparations, and a separate American team is in Singapore coordinating logistics. "It will happen!" the president said, confirming that a U.S. team "has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the summit". Moon said military generals and Red Cross officials from the Koreas will also meet separately to discuss how to ease military tensions and resume reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. Reports said that talks continued until Tuesday.

"This combination of positions in the party and state makes Kim one of the most powerful figures in North Korea", according to North Korea Leadership Watch, a website that tracks senior regime figures".

Washington wants North Korea to quickly give up all its nuclear weapons in a verifiable way in return for sanctions and economic relief.

Despite Kim's apparent eagerness for a summit with Trump, there are lingering doubts about whether he will fully relinquish his nuclear weapons, which he may see as his only guarantee of survival.

Human rights abuses in North Korea, including violations of religious freedom, are a "matter of discussion" ahead of the planned summit, Sam Brownback, U.S. ambassador at large for worldwide religious freedom, said on Tuesday.

White House officials maintain that Trump was hopeful the North was merely negotiating, but that he was prepared for the letter to mark the end of the two-month flirtation. There's also speculation that American officials are trying to persuade the North Koreans to export a certain number of its nuclear warheads overseas at an early stage as proof of its commitment to denuclearize. From North Korea's point of view, he said, a US presence in the country might give Pyongyang a "sense of security" against a possible USA attack.

During his Washington visit, Jo met then President Bill Clinton, conveyed a letter from Kim Jong Il and met Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Defense Secretary William Cohen.