Top North Korean general on way to US ahead of summit

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Before his appointment as Secretary of State in April, Pompeo's role as Central Intelligence Agency director would have seen him serve as Kim's direct American counterpart.

One of North Korea's most senior officials is travelling to NY, as preparations for a planned summit gather pace.

The Kim-Trump summit is expected to take place in Singapore on June 12. Solid response to my letter, thank you!' Trump wrote in a tweet.

Choe Kang Il, a North Korean foreign ministry official involved with North America issues, was also spotted at Beijing Capital International Airport, according to South Korea's Yonhap News Agency.

Kim Yong Chol is a former military intelligence chief and now a vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party's central committee. A spokesman for the North Korean mission to the United Nations said he was unable to confirm that the general was on his way to NY but added that "preparation for the summit is proceeding at the highest level".

He would be the most senior North Korean official to visit the United States in 18 years.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in could make a trip to Singapore for a three-way summit with his US and North Korean counterparts next month, depending on the outcome of ongoing discussions between Washington and Pyongyang, a ranking government official here said Monday.

"The most meaningful thing in the latest South-North Korea summit was the fact that we skipped complicated procedures and protocols and met casually as if holding an everyday meeting", Moon had said then. The former spy will be the highest-ranking North Korean official to visit the almost two decades, according to Bloomberg.

Hagin served as deputy chief of Staff to President George W. Bush from 2001 to 2008. In 2000, Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok traveled to the meet with then-President Bill Clinton. Sanders said he would meet with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in NY later this week.

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Kim Yong Chol has recent experience meeting with high-level U.S. officials, having held talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang earlier in the month.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with Kim Yong Chol, one of North Korea's highest-ranking officials, in NY later this week, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the USA postponed additional sanctions on North Korea as the two states prepare for the summit, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal that cited US officials.

Although Trump has not officially announced that the summit, which he abruptly canceled on Thursday, is back on, his staff is acting as though it is.

In March, Kim Jong-un told South Korean envoys who visited Pyongyang that the regime had no reason to have nuclear weapons if its security was guaranteed. Ministry spokesman Noh Kyu-duk also did not say whether Seoul knew of any US plans regarding Kim Yong Chol's possible visit, such as whether he and Pompeo have plans to meet.

In Kim and Moon's first, upbeat meeting on April 27, they agreed to seek the "complete denuclearisation" of the Korean peninsula - but didn't define what that meant, or how that would proceed.

He "will be authorized to speak on behalf of Kim Jong Un, and his intricate knowledge of the various policy issues at play means that USA officials will regard what he says as a bellwether for the DPRK's intentions at the summit". The trip is part of a flurry of diplomacy before the on-again, off-again summit.

The summit was originally scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.

Significant differences, however, remain - especially over the USA and North Korean definition of "complete denuclearization". Since then, North Korea has rejected USA demands for it to unilaterally abandon its nuclear weapons programme.