Korean official meet in NY, prepare for summit

Korean official meet in NY, prepare for summit

Top American and North Korean officials are holding a full day of meetings in NY on Thursday aimed at deciding whether a summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un can be salvaged.

The official, Kim Yong Chol, was greeted by White House chief of staff John Kelly, who led him to the Oval Office for talks with Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to press secretary Sarah Sanders.

This is the third sit-down between Pompeo and Kim. He is the most senior North Korean to visit in 18 years, a symbolic sign of easing tensions after fears of war escalated amid North Korean nuclear and missile tests last year.

South Korea has accused him of masterminding deadly attacks on a South Korean warship and an island in 2010, and United States intelligence linked him to a cyber attack on Sony Pictures in 2014.

Mr. Pompeo began his discussions with Gen. Kim by hosting a dinner on Wednesday night. He said it was likely that more than one meeting would be necessary.

"I think it's probably going to be a very successful process", he said.

"Good working dinner with Kim Yong Chol in NY tonight", Pompeo tweeted after the dinner, along with photos of them shaking hands and clinking glasses over the table. "Steak, corn, and cheese on the menu", Pompeo tweeted. And they agreed to pursue dates and places for further talks on matters such as railway, road and forestry cooperation.

The envoy, Gen Kim Yong-chol, hand-delivered a letter from the North Korean leader to President Trump.

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Despite Lavrov's invitation to Kim, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov said on Thursday that it's "too early to speculate" about a Putin-Kim summit.

He wants North Korea to "denuclearise", meaning to get rid of its nuclear arms, in return for relief from economic sanctions but the leadership in Pyongyang is believed to regard nuclear weapons as crucial to its survival and has rejected unilaterally disarming. "We talked about ending the war", Trump said.

The summit between the two leaders will be held on 12 June in Singapore. The agency quoted Kim as saying that the North's willingness for the "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula still remains unchanged" but also that the process should be "stage-by-stage basis by founding a solution to meet the interests of each other".

Last month North Korea's foreign minister Ri Yong Ho held rare talks with Lavrov in Moscow as Pyongyang moves to improve strained ties with global powers.

Vox looks at four possible scenarios, ranging from "small deal and more talks" to the North agreeing to de-nuclearize. But North Korea flipped on the United States in May, blasting Trump officials and saying it was reconsidering the summit. Trump had mused that Kim's "attitude" had changed after the North Korean leader's surprise visit to China two weeks ago, suggesting China was pushing Kim away from the table. "I purposely didn't open the letter".

Three teams of officials in the US, Singapore, and the Korean demilitarized zone have been meeting this week on preparations for the summit.

The North Korean mission at the United Nations did not respond to an email seeking comment Thursday, and phone calls were not answered.

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