Japan's foreign minister mulls visit to Singapore ahead of Trump-Kim summit

Posted May 31, 2018

Kim Yong Chol landed at New York's JFK International Airport and his motorcade has departed, according to a law enforcement source.

"Looking forward to meeting with Kim Yong Chol in NY to discuss @Potus potential summit with Chairman Kim".

The two countries do not have a diplomatic relationship and North Korea only has a mission in NY for its delegation to the UN. But a North-U.S. leaders' summit did not come about, and U.S. President George W. Bush took office in January 2001. "That's what these ongoing conversations taking place now will be centred on, as well as the summit that would take place in Singapore".

Washington wants North Korea to give up all its nukes in a verifiable way as quickly as possible in return for sanctions and economic relief. But there are lingering doubts on whether Kim will ever fully relinquish his nuclear arsenal, which he may see as his only guarantee of survival in a region surrounded by enemies.

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Trump announced that Kim Yong-chol was coming to NY for talks with Pompeo in a tweet on Tuesday in which he said he had a "great team" working on the summit.

President Trump cancelled the proposed summit in a letter, blaming "tremendous anger and open hostility" from North Korea.

With 13 days to go, the talks between General Kim and Pompeo, the former Central Intelligence Agency chief who pioneered the latest round of face-to-face meetings, appeared to confirm that the process of getting two unpredictable leaders to the table is now on track.

The Trump administration says computer malware tied to the North Korean government has been targeting US infrastructure and aerospace, financial and media companies for at least nine years to steal information and remotely manipulate networks.

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"Since the president's May 24 letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, the North Koreans have been engaging with the United States", said Heather Nauert, spokesperson of the U.S. State Department, in another briefing Tuesday.

Scheduled to happen in Singapore, the historic meeting would be the first between sitting U.S. and North Korean leaders. Trump's letter, the aides said, was created to pressure the North on the global stage for appearing to have cold feet. The two planned a "day full of meetings" Thursday, the White House said.

And she added that the administration is still aiming for a June 12 meeting.

Nonetheless, in a surprise meeting earlier this week, Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in affirmed their shared goal of achieving complete dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear, chemical and biological weapons and ballistic missile programs, according to a statement. The previous top ranking envoy was Jo Myong-rok, a vice marshal, sent to Washington DC in 2000.

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The White House emphasized that it has remained in close contact with South Korean and Japanese officials as preparations for the talks continue.