North Korea won’t denuclearise, might open burger joint

U.S. President Donald Trump left meets with South Korean President Moon Jae In in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington as national security adviser John Bolton right watches

U.S. President Donald Trump left meets with South Korean President Moon Jae In in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington as national security adviser John Bolton right watches

The announcement followed a tweet from U.S. President Donald Trump Tuesday morning, saying that Kim Yong Chol is "heading now to NY". The plane departed Beijing at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, local time.

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We will never forget our heroes. He's a former US diplomat who's been involved in negotiations with North Korea over the years. But somewhere in those details lies the question of whether a meeting happens and, more important, whether it resolves a nuclear crisis on the Korean Peninsula.

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 United States and South Korea after tensions over its nuclear weapons reached a breaking point. "Solid response to my letter, thank you!"

Trump has confirmed that a top North Korean official, Kim Yong Chol, is headed to NY for talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

At the same time, a "pre-advance" USA team was in Singapore to meet the North Koreans and the White House announced on Tuesday that Mr Trump would meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on June 7.

Kim is the North Korean ex-military intelligence chief known for having knowledge and experience on the issues of denuclearization and security.

Sanctioned by US, General Kim Yong-chol will hold talks with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as preparations are underway for a historic nuclear summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un.

"Excessive worries receded as efforts resumed for a summit between the USA and North Korea", Okasan Online Securities strategist Yoshihiro Ito said in a commentary, which added that uncertainty remains.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang, August 25, 2017.

A "pre-advance" team of United States officials was also travelling to Singapore to meet with North Koreans there, the White House said.

Sung Kim will meet North Korea's foreign ministry official Choi Sun Hee again on Wednesday at the DMZ, Yonhap reported on Tuesday, citing a diplomatic source, adding that the agenda for the Trump-Kim summit would roughly be decided at the meeting.

"Sending such an experienced and professional team signals that the Trump administration is getting serious about the specifics of an agreement", said former United States deputy assistant secretary of defence for East Asia, Abraham Denmark.

Trump was referring to a letter he sent last week to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un cancelling a planned meeting in Singapore on June 12. But he was granted special permission for official travel to the United States, said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

Moon and Kim Jong Un held a surprise meeting on Saturday at the border village of Panmunjom, during which they agreed that a North Korea-US summit must be held. He's a longtime Korean intelligence official with past involvement in many violent acts, and now he's heading to the U.S.

"Should the North Korea-US summit succeed, I would like to see efforts to formally end the (Korean) war through a three-way summit of the South, the North and the US", he told a press briefing. North Korea didn't want to do that.

Trump confirmed the general was on his way in a tweet and boasted that Washington would have a "great team" for the talks aimed at resolving the nuclear standoff. Instead, the officials said, it brought both sides to the table with increasing seriousness, as they work through myriad logistical and policy decisions to keep June 12 a viable option for the summit.

Pyongyang also demanded the United States halt future joint military drills with South Korea if it truly wishes for talks with North Korea, the North's Rodong Sinmun said on Tuesday.

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.

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