Russian foreign minister to head to North Korea

Casey Dawson
June 1, 2018

United States officials said the North Korea delegation would come to Washington to meet Trump and deliver the message on Friday, one week after Trump had abruptly called off preparations for the planned June 12 summit in a sharply-worded letter of his own.

A top North Korean official has arrived at Beijing's airport on his way to a meeting in NY in hopes of trying to salvage a summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump. Another U.S. delegation was in Singapore to work on logistics.

The summit had been scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, but Trump wrote a letter to Kim Jong Un last week saying he had made a decision to "terminate" the meeting.

A team led by White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin is scheduled to be in Singapore this weekend, meeting with North Korean officials to plan for the June 12 summit.

A senior North Korean official and the top US diplomat had dinner in NY on Wednesday as President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un try to salvage prospects for a high-stakes nuclear summit.

North Korean state-run news agency KCNA reported on Sunday that Kim had told Moon it was his "fixed will" to hold the summit with Trump. It marks the latest sign that prospects for the summit are growing, just days after it was ostensibly called off by Trump, as teams of USA officials have arrived at the Korean demilitarized zone and in Singapore to prepare for the meeting. So we're looking at June 12th in Singapore. White House officials have characterized the letter from the president to Kim as a negotiating tactic, created to bring the North back to the table.

Kim Yong Chol was seen at Beijing's airport just after noon on Wednesday as he was heading to his connecting flight. USA officials familiar with planning said he was scheduled to meet with Pompeo on Thursday.

North Korea is far more interested in improving trade with China, its economic lifeline, and with South Korea, which it sees as a potential gold mine for tourism and large-scale joint projects. "Meetings are now taking place concerning Summit, and more".

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A vice chairman of the ruling Workers' Party, Kim Yong Chol has been deeply involved in North Korean diplomacy this year. "Solid response to my letter, thank you!"

The two leaders "affirmed the shared imperative of achieving the complete and permanent dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missile programs", the statement said. South Korea's Yonhap news agency cited diplomatic sources as saying that Kim was on an Air China flight to NY that departed later Wednesday afternoon. It includes senior officials with the National Security Council and the Pentagon.

He sat next to Trump's daughter Ivanka, who is also a White House aide, during the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in the South Korean resort of Pyeongchang which was a turning point in the nuclear crisis. But less than 24 hours later, Trump said the June 12 meeting would still be possible. Trump hosted South Korean President Moon Jae-in last week.

Even so, the North's perceived thirst for US economic aid has consistently been the message coming from Trump and his senior officials. South Korean media speculated that Pompeo could make a third trip to Pyongyang and that Kim Yong Chol was carrying a personal letter from Kim Jong Un and might push to travel to Washington to meet with Trump. Trump last week unexpectedly cancelled the planned summit with Kim, citing North Korea's "tremendous anger and open hostility".

"It will take bold leadership from Chairman Kim Jong Un if we were able to seize this once in a lifetime opportunity to change the course for the world", he said. But the North Korean leader also said he was unsure whether he could trust the United States to end hostile policies against North Korea and provide security assurances if the country does abandon its nuclear weapons, according to Moon.

"Chairman Kim and I have agreed that the June 12 summit should be held successfully, and that our quest for the Korean Peninsula's denuclearisation and a perpetual peace regime should not be halted", Moon said.

North Korea also demanded the United States stop military exercises with South Korea, the North's Rodong Sinmun newspaper said. South Korea's Defense Ministry said Tuesday there have been no discussions yet between Washington and Seoul on modifying the drills, which usually take place in August. But there are lingering doubts on whether Kim will ever fully relinquish his nuclear arsenal, which he may see as his only guarantee of survival in a region surrounded by enemies.

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