Published: Tue, May 29, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Wow! Look who beat Trump to Singapore summit

Wow! Look who beat Trump to Singapore summit

Chung Sung-yoon, an analyst at the Korea Institute for National Unification, said Kim Yong Chol would be the most senior North Korean official to step onto U.S. soil since Vice Marshall Jo Myong Rok met President Bill Clinton in 2000. Its demands could include a reduced U.S. military role in South Korea or an end to the American nuclear "umbrella" over South Korea and Japan.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has deployed his top aide to the preparation for the June summit with President Donald Trump.

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.

United States officials have talked about a comprehensive one-shot deal in which North Korea eliminates its nukes first and receives rewards later. And, on Sunday, the president said an American delegation was meeting with North Korean officials in preparation for the meeting.

Kyodo News reported that Pyongyang is reluctant to "ship up to 20 warheads overseas at an early date as part of measures to achieve a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea".

Hooker was also a part of a USA delegation led by Ivanka Trump, daughter of the president and his senior adviser, that attended the closing ceremony of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics at the end of February.

"Since the President's May 24th letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the North Koreans have been engaging".

The two diplomats have crossed paths several times in the past, especially during the six-party negotiation process.

He said he was in Singapore to wish success for the summit between Trump and Kim to negotiate an end to Pyongyang's nuclear programme.

News of the latest trip came after a team of veteran US negotiators involved in preparatory discussions for the Trump-Kim summit met with top North Korean officials at the truce village of Panmunjom that divides the two Koreas on Sunday.

Earlier, Japan's Kyodo news agency quoted Abe as saying that the two leaders had agreed to cooperate to make the summit between the USA president and North Korean leader meaningful.

Trump last week said he was pulling out of the scheduled June 12 meeting in Singapore, citing North Korea's "open hostility", but then said the talks could still happen.

Kim Chang-son, Kim's de facto chief of staff, flew to Singapore via Beijing on Monday night, the report by public broadcaster NHK said.

Senior Trump administration officials are also coordinating directly with North Korean counterparts at the Korean demilitarized zone and in Singapore, Sanders said.

Moon has played a critical role in delivering the positions of each side to the other while encouraging them to speak to each other, Yoon said.

Kim is also widely believed to be behind the 2010 sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean Naval vessel, in which 46 seamen died.

Yonhap said it is "widely expected" that Kim Yong-chol would travel to the US "to reciprocate recent visits" by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Planning for that "canceled" summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un couldn't be busier.

A "pre-advance" team of US officials has also traveled to Singapore to meet with North Koreans there, the White House said.

The White House said a "pre-advance" team was travelling to Singapore to meet with North Koreans.

Since the 1970s, the United States and South Korea have been holding a major summertime exercise called Ulchi Freedom Guardian that involves tens of thousands of troops.

Trump announced the meeting with Kim Yong Chol earlier in the day.

He is often referred to as Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un's right-hand man and is notionally forbidden to travel to the States, having been twice sanctioned by Washington. Vice Minister Kim found fault with U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton's call to use the Libya model of denuclearization on Pyongyang.

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