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Washington continues to "actively prepare" for summit: Sanders

30 May, 2018, 11:37 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • Top Korean aide lands in Singapore as summit looms

In this image made from video, Kim Yong Chol, centre, a former military intelligence chief who is now Kim Jong Un's top official on inter-Korean relations, walks through Beijing airport after his arrival on Tuesday.

Kim Yong Chol's visit to the USA seems to suggest both Washington and Pyongyang are determined to see the talks move forward.

Mr. Trump withdrew from a planned June 12 summit with Kim Jong Un last Thursday, citing hostile North Korean comments, but has since said the meeting in Singapore could still happen.

In a tweet confirming Pompeo's meeting with Kim Yong Chol, Trump said Tuesday that his administration has "put a great team together for our talks with North Korea". At the same time, a "pre-advance" US team was in Singapore to meet North Koreans.

During a campaign rally in Atlanta in June 2016, Trump said he would want to talk nukes with Kim over burgers and fries.

Yonhap said Kim Yong Chol's name was on the passenger list for a flight Wednesday from Beijing to NY.

Trump also trumpeted in his tweet that Kim's trip to NY a new sign of progress for the leaders' meeting, was "solid response" to his letter.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that since the letter, "the North Koreans have been engaging", with the US.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed the president in recent testimony to the House Foreign Affairs Committee.




A leading U.S. expert, Siegfried Hecker, a former director of the U.S. Los Alamos weapons laboratory in New Mexico who is now at Stanford University, was quoted by Monday's New York Times as saying denuclearization could take 15 years.

Plans for the high-stakes summit have been in flux for days.

Kellyanne Conway, a top adviser to Trump, told Fox News a summit might not take place on the date originally set but perhaps might go ahead shortly after. Any visit to the United States would indicate a waiver was granted. Over the past decade he was promoted to four-star general, and made head of the main North Korean intelligence service, known as the reconnaissance general bureau (RGB).

Kim Jong-un may supersize it.

He was also accused by South Korean officials of masterminding the sinking of the Cheonan naval corvette in 2010, in which 46 of the South's sailors were killed. North Korea has denied any involvement in the incident, according to Time magazine. The US has linked him to the hacking of Sony Pictures' computer networks in 2014 and has him on its list of sanctioned entities. A day later, Trump said he had reconsidered, and officials from both countries were meeting to work out details.

Abe, one of the most vociferous supporters of Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign against the nuclear-armed North, has been concerned that the mercurial USA president's decision to meet Kim might result in him making a deal with Pyongyang that leaves out shorter- and medium-range missiles that could strike Japan. Some are skeptical as to whether Pyongyang will fully comply with such a request, no matter what concessions it receives in return.

Initially, Hecker said the United States should push for North Korea to dismantle the more unsafe aspects of its nuclear program.

White House also said on Tuesday that Trump would meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Washington on June 7.

The Trump administration issued a fresh warning Tuesday about malicious North Korean cyber activity, as that nation's leader dispatched a top adviser to NY to prepare for a possible summit on its nuclear arsenal.

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