Trump and Abe to meet before North Korea summit

Kim Yong Chol vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party Central Committee at the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympic Games on Feb. 25 2018

Solid response to my letter, thank you!' Trump wrote in a tweet. "Kim [Yong] Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to NY".

Kim Yong Chol is one of the vice chairmen of the Workers' Party of Korea, the communist organization through which the ruling family controls North Korea, but is not technically the No. 2 behind Kim Jong Un.

The ex-spy chief has served all three leaders in the Kim dynasty and headed the General Reconnaissance Bureau intelligence agency for roughly 30 years.

Since the 1970s, the United States and South Korea have been holding a major summertime exercise called Ulchi Freedom Guardian that involves tens of thousands of troops. Pompeo and Kim have reportedly met in the past during the secretary of state's recent trips to Pyongyang.

South Korea blamed him for the sinking of the Cheonan, a South Korean military ship, in 2010, which killed 46 South Koreans.

The conference had been scheduled for June 12 in the island nation, but Trump announced last week that he had chose to "terminate" the meeting following a provocative statement from the North and its decision to skip planning talks and ignore preparatory phone calls.

Chung Sung-yoon, an analyst at the Korea Institute for National Unification, said Kim Yong Chol would be the most senior North Korean on United States soil since Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok met then president Bill Clinton in 2000.

Kim is a former military intelligence chief and now a vice-chairman of the North Korean ruling party's central committee tasked with inter-Korean relations.

South Korea's Yonhap news said Tuesday it saw the name of Kim Yong Chol on the passengers' list for a flight Tuesday from Beijing to Washington.

Trump could still walk away from the summit, and Lee said he should be wary of "meaningless" gestures, like allowing some outside inspectors of a nuclear facility or a recent demolition of a nuclear testing ground.

At the same time, a "pre-advance" team was traveling to Singapore to meet with North Koreans, the White House said. Just last week, however, North Korea blew up tunnels at its only known nuclear test site in a clear display of Kim's willingness to work with the U.S. He has since said the meeting could still happen.

South Korea's Moon held a surprise two-hour meeting Saturday with Kim Jong-un on the border in a bid to keep the Trump summit on track.

On Monday, Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe confirmed while talking on the phone that they would meet before the "expected" summit.

The targets were meant to advance the "maximum pressure" campaign on North Korea's economy, and there are still more ways to cut off overseas cash to the rogue regime.

The U.S. has stated it is ready to trade with and invest in North Korea if it achieves complete denuclearization.

Kim Yong Chol, a four-star general who has been at the forefront of North Korea's diplomatic outreach, landed at Beijing Capital International Airport on Tuesday, according to television footage from the airport. Officials are discussing the substance of any summit agreement, focusing on the thorny issue of denuclearization, with a North Korean team led by Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui.

Kim Yong-chol sat just metres away from Trump's daughter Ivanka at the Olympic Games in Pyeongchang in February - one of the first signs of a diplomatic thaw between North Korea and the US and South Korea after tensions over its nuclear weapons reached a breaking point.

Ramped-up sanctions were set to be announced as soon as Tuesday, but they have been delayed indefinitely amid diplomatic progress this weekend, a USA official told the Journal.

The US has chose to hold off on implementing major new sanctions on North Korea while attempts to revive the summit are underway, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday. After a particularly tense year on the Korean Peninsula, Kim Jong Un followed up historic achievements in his nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs by calling for talks with longtime, US -backed rival South Korea. He was the USA ambassador to South Korea from 2011 to 2014.

Washington wants North Korea to quickly give up all its nuclear weapons in a verifiable way in return for sanctions and economic relief. The North Korean delegation is led by Kim Chang Son, a top logistics and protocol official, Yonhap said.

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