Published: Fri, January 18, 2019
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

North Korea top negotiator in United States for talks with Pompeo

North Korea top negotiator in United States for talks with Pompeo

During this time, North Korean leader Kim Jon Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in have held several meetings, while Kim even had a historic summit with US President Donald Trump.

CNN had previously reported that the North's envoy is arriving in Washington this Thursday, staying overnight, and meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday.

A meeting could mean the two sides are nearing a compromise after months of stand-off over how to move forward in ending North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes.

According to a spokesman from the South Korean Unification Ministry, the working group between the two countries will monitor on Thursday by video conference the issues addressed during last month's meeting in Seoul.

The talks had stalled over North Korea's refusal to provide a detailed accounting of its nuclear and missile facilities that would be used by inspectors to verify any deal to dismantle them. North Korea has called the label a provocation that demonstrated Seoul's hostility.

General Kim Yong-chol, a former spymaster often referred to as Kim Jong-un's right hand man, has emerged as North Korea's lead negotiator in recent talks with the US.

It has always been unclear what else the North is supposed to be given that denuclearization is at the heart of negotiations with the U.S. "And so reducing the threat from North Korea, whether that's by our success to date in stopping their missile testing, stopping their nuclear testing, those are the important elements".

South Korean media said those paintings were purchased from a North Korean art studio under United Nations sanctions.

Senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol (L) arrives at the worldwide airport as he leaves for Washington from Beijing, China January 17, 2019.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence acknowledged on Wednesday that efforts to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear arsenal had not made headway.

However, on a visit to Beijing last week, he said North Korea would pursue a second summit "to achieve results that will be welcomed by the worldwide community", according to China's official Xinhua News Agency. Mr Kim pressed for United States concessions to reward his decisions past year to halt weapons tests and dismantle some testing facilities, without offering additional steps.

In 2018, Washington and Seoul signalled they may proceed to the declaration of an official end to the Korean war without China's involvement.

Prospects for a second U.S.

A source familiar with the matter said Kim will travel to Vietnam for an official state visit after the February 4-8 lunar new year.

In 2018, Singapore and Kim Jong Un pledged to work towards denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula, but there has been little significant progress since. He visited NY and met with Pompeo before traveling to Washington, where he delivered an oversized envelope containing a letter from Kim Jong Un to Trump in the Oval Office.

Earlier, the USA president expressed satisfaction over the progress in talks with the North Koreans, saying he is in no rush for the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

US President Donald Trump, a former real estate developer turned billionaire, applauded North Korea's tourism potential previous year following his landmark summit with Kim in Singapore.

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