Trump approach risks disaster, warns architect of previous North Korea talks
31 May, 2018, 20:11 | Author: Chad Mckenzie
Kim Yong Chol, North Korea's former spy chief and a trusted aide to the country's leader, Kong Jong Un, touched down at New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport in the early afternoon and was expected to have dinner with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Manhattan ahead of meetings Thursday.
Their talks will be aimed at determining whether a meeting between Trump and Kim Jong Un, originally scheduled for June 12 but later canceled by Trump, can be restored, US officials have said. Discussing a possible meeting with Kim in the US, Trump said any summit must have "a hamburger on a conference table" instead of a state banquet.
Former military intelligence chief Kim Yong Chol is the highest-level representative from the North to set foot in the U.S. since 2000. "We expect it to take place", she said.
North Korea's flurry of diplomatic activity following a torrid run in nuclear weapons and missile tests in 2017 suggests that Kim Jong Un is eager for sanctions relief to build his economy and the worldwide legitimacy the summit with Trump would provide.
Kim Yong Chol was previously chief of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, a top North Korean military intelligence agency, and has spent almost 30 years as a senior member of the intelligence community.
Trump has sworn not to allow North Korea to develop nuclear missiles that could hit the United States and wants North Korea to "denuclearize", or get rid of its nuclear arms.
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Kim Jong Un is reportedly offering to open an American burger chain in North Korea as a "show of goodwill".
Kim held two meetings with Xi in March and May in China and two others with South Korean President Moon Jae In in Panmunjeom in April and May.
Talks are focusing on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, press secretary Sarah Sanders says.
After the North's combative statements, there was debate inside the Trump administration about whether it marked a real turn to belligerence or a feint to see how far Kim Jong-un could push the U.S.in the lead-up to the talks.
A top North Korean official has arrived in NY, as Pyongyang and Washington work to see if a summit can still go forward between President Donald Trump and leader Kim Jong Un.
In further diplomatic moves ahead of the proposed summit, Russian Federation announced that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov would visit North Korea on Thursday.
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Trump announced that Kim Yong-chol was coming to NY for talks with Pompeo in a tweet on Tuesday in which he said he had a "great team" working on the summit.
The White House gave no details as to when the Trump-Abe meeting might take place, but both leaders are due to attend the G7 meeting of big industrial powers that runs from June 8 to 9 in Canada.
The presidential office flatly denied the report, saying the official's trip to Singapore "has nothing to do with the North Korea-US summit or a South Korea-North Korea-US summit".
He and Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, were the only two officials to join the North Korean leader at the two inter-Korean summits.
The US delegation, led by Philippines Ambassador Sung Kim, had been meeting their North Korean counterparts at the Demilitarized Zone since Monday.
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But analysts say North Korea will be unwilling to cede its nuclear deterrent unless it is given security guarantees that the USA will not try to topple the regime.
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The EU has already said it will respond by imposing tariffs on USA products such as motorcycles and jeans. European officials argue that tit-for-tat tariffs will hurt growth on both sides of the Atlantic.
U.S. officials also entered North Korea yesterday to hold talks on preparations for a possible summit, a U.S. newspaper reported. In a letter to Kim on Thursday morning, Trump said he was cancelling the planned Singapore summit but remained open to dialogue.
Trump says 17 prisoners have been freed from overseas captivity since he's been president and that others would be coming. Holt was imprisoned by the Venezuelan government in June 2016 after being accused of illegally possessing assault weapons.
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