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Top N.Korean official may visit U.S., reminiscent of 2000 trip

Top N.Korean official may visit U.S., reminiscent of 2000 trip”

Nearly as soon as Pompeo started talking about his plan to rebuild North Korea's economy, Kim Kye Gwan, the North's first vice foreign minister, shot back that Pyongyang has no interest in that kind of help, saying, "We have never had any expectation of USA support in carrying out our economic construction and will not at all make such a deal in future, too".

Abe and Trump spoke by telephone a day after American and North Korean officials met at a border truce village to prepare for the summit.

United States officials on Sunday entered the North Korean side of the demilitarized zone for talks as preparations continued for a summit.

Kim's visit to the United States comes as USA and North Korean officials are holding pre-summit meetings both at the truce village of Panmunjom, on the northern side of the inter-Korean demilitarized zone, and in Singapore.

Kim, who formerly headed the North's reconnaissance bureau, is expected to have been granted a temporary waiver to travel to the U.S. The two countries do not have formal diplomatic relations and therefore no representation in each other's capitals, but North Korea does have a diplomatic mission to the United Nations in NY.

Kim Yong-chol, a vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party's Central Committee, is traveling to NY and will meet with Pompeo "later this week", White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

On Sunday Sung Kim, a former USA ambassador to South Korea and current ambassador to the Philippines, led a delegation to talks on the substance of the summit with North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui. But Trump canceled the summit in a letter to Kim, citing Pyongyang's "open hostility". 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.

Moon, who has lobbied hard for nuclear negotiations between Trump and Kim Jong Um, held a surprise meeting with the North Korean leader Saturday in an effort to keep the summit alive.

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Analysts believe the United States is trying to determine whether North Korea is willing to agree to sufficient steps toward getting rid of its nuclear weapons to allow a summit to take place.

"We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea", Trump tweeted Tuesday morning. It includes senior officials with the National Security Council and the Pentagon. It's the highest-level official North Korean visit to the United States in 18 years.

Kim Yong Chol's trip comes amid two sets of other pre-summit talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

Asked whether the answer would come on Friday in the letter, Pompeo said he did not know but added "we have made real progress in the last 72 hours toward setting the conditions".

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

North Korea also demanded the United States stop military exercises with South Korea, the North's Rodong Sinmun newspaper said.

Despite the North's apparent eagerness for a summit with Trump, there are lingering doubts about whether Kim Jong Un will fully relinquish his nuclear weapons, which he may see as his only guarantee of survival. North Korea and the United States are still technically at war and have no diplomatic ties because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. Moon has insisted he can be persuaded to abandon his nuclear facilities, materials and bombs in a verifiable and irreversible way in exchange for credible security and economic guarantees.



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