WASHINGTON. — A top North Korean nuclear envoy met President Donald Trump at the White House after holding talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo yesterday in a diplomatic flurry aimed at laying the groundwork for a second US-North Korea summit.
The visit of Kim Yong Chol, Pyongyang’s lead negotiator with the United States and a hardline former spy chief, marked a rare sign of potential movement in a denuclearisation effort that has stalled since a landmark meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore last year.
Kim Yong Chol and Pompeo, with tight smiles, posed together for photographs at a Washington hotel before holding about 45 minutes of talks that could determine whether the two sides can make headway.
After those talks, the White House said Trump met Kim Yong Chol in the Oval Office to “discuss relations between the two countries and continued progress on North Korea’s final, fully verified denuclearisation”.
There has been no indication of any narrowing of differences over US.
Demands that North Korea abandon a nuclear weapons programme that threatens the United States or over Pyongyang’s demand for a lifting of punishing sanctions.
Hours before Kim Yong Chol’s arrival on Thursday, Trump — who declared after the Singapore summit in June that the nuclear threat posed by North Korea was over — unveiled a revamped US missile defence strategy that singled out the country as an ongoing and “extraordinary threat”.
The State Department said after the meeting that Pompeo had a “good discussion” with Kim Yong Chol “on efforts to make progress on commitments President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un made at their summit in Singapore”. But it provided no specifics.
The high-level visit could yield an announcement of plans for a second summit. — Reuters