U.S., North Korea to hold second day of nuclear talks

Casey Dawson
May 31, 2018

Kim Yong-chol, the highest-ranking North Korean official to visit the United States in 18 years, was set to meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in NY, their third meeting in two months, to finalize a first summit between the two countries.

The senior North Korean's visit marks the highest-level official visit to the United States in 18 years.

Lavrov's visit comes ahead of a planned summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, who has also made recent diplomatic overtures to Seoul and Beijing.

The Associated Press reports Pompeo met with Kim Yong Chul, the country's former military intelligence chief and a top aide in Kim's government.

When asked about the working dinner, Pompeo told reporters afterwards: "It was great".

Meanwhile, the outgoing head of USA pacific command, who is Mr Trump's pick to be the ambassador to South Korea, said on Wednesday that North Korea remained America's most imminent threat.

It was not yet known whether the two men made any progress toward narrowing long-standing differences between Washington and Pyongyang that could end decades of hostile relations.

In a letter to Kim last week, Trump declared he was calling off the summit scheduled for 12 June in Singapore, after a spat broke out between Washington and Pyongyang over military exercises the USA conducted with South Korea, and expectations of the outcome of the unprecedented meeting between the two national leaders.

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The fact that such a high-level North Korean official has come to the United States to try and patch things up shows how much both leaders want the summit to go ahead. (AP/AAP) Donald Trump has praised the "very good meetings" in NY.

Amid a flurry of rapidly evolving diplomatic activities aimed at reviving the summit between Washington and Pyongyang, experts contacted by VOA's Korean Service say that completely denuclearizing North Korea probably is unachievable.

Officials from both sides have been scrambling to make the summit happen, with separate teams dispatched to the inter-Korean border and Singapore to discuss the substance of any denuclearization agreement and logistical issues, respectively.

The official said that the NY talks were being conducted by the "two top dogs" in the preparatory negotiations.

Kim Yong-chol will meet with Pompeo "later this week", she said, adding that the secretary "looks forward to his meetings". He said North Korea will never agree to have its complete nuclear weapons packed up and shipped out of the country. "It was the first official meeting with him face to face", TASS quoted a source in the minister's delegation as saying.

But the leadership in Pyongyang is believed to regard nuclear weapons as crucial to its survival and has rejected unilaterally disarming.

Any diplomatic agreement in which North Korea agrees to give up its nuclear weapons could take as long as 10 years to implement, according to a new analysis by United States experts. It is unclear how he could ban Iran from peaceful production, yet allow North Korea to do the same. "If North Korea follows through with the plan until it's no longer a threat to the US, it could take maybe two-and-a-half to three-and-a-half years". "The goal here is to create an environment where North Korea would not desire nuclear weapons development by removing the threat perception (posed by the United States)", said Chun Yung-woo, a former South Korean national security adviser. He is the vice chairman of the Workers' Party of Korea Central Committee responsible for South Korean affairs.

Kim Yong Chol "stormed out of the room" during military talks in 2014 when the South demanded an apology for the 2010 attacks, according to South Korean officials.

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