North Korea′s top nuclear negotiator arrives in US | News | DW | 18.01.2019
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North Korea's top nuclear negotiator arrives in US

Kim Yong Chol, a former spy chief, was set to meet Secretary of State Pompeo and perhaps President Trump. The White House is keen for a second summit.

North Korea's top negotiator Kim Yong Chol (above) landed in the US capital late on Thursday as Washington and Pyongyang gear up for another round of talks between leader Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.

A former spy chief, Kim is set to meet with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday and possibly even Trump himself. He is reported to be carrying a letter from Kim Jong Un for the president.

At the same time, US special envoy for North Korea Stephen Biegun met Pyongyang's Deputy Foreign Minister Choe Son
Hui in Sweden. Sweden is one of the few western countries with an embassy in North Korea.

Stalled progress

The trips signaled that the attempts at easing decades of animosity — stalled for months now — may be getting back on track.

After the leaders' historic meeting in Singapore last June, Trump had heralded a new beginning for US-North Korea relations. However, it became apparent shortly after the summit that both parties had come away with different understandings of what the other had promised, and a push to get Pyongyang to denuclearize has been unsuccessful.

Despite the lack of progress, the White House has been keen for a second summit, and Pyongyang likely desires a clearer message from the Trump administration on what concessions it is willing to make in exchange for halting its missile program.

Vietnam, which has relatively good relations with both the US and North Korea, is being touted as the probable location for a second summit.

es/rc (AP, Reuters)

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