Top NK official, Pompeo have dinner in NY


North Korea's Kim Yong-chol, the top intelligence adviser to Kim Jong-un, was headed to the USA on Wednesday for meetings in NY with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Gen. Kim is the highest-ranking North Korean official to visit the 18 years.

High-ranking officials of the United States and North Korea met in NY late on Wednesday in the first of two days of talks about the future of Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program and a possible summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sat down for a steak dinner with an infamous North Korean official as part of a diplomatic frenzy dedicated to resurrecting the cancelled summit between Donald trump and Kim Jong Un.

It was not yet known whether they made any progress toward narrowing long-standing differences between Washington and Pyongyang that could end decades of hostile relations.

But one of them, Kim Yong Chul, has been dispatched to the US, in the latest signal from Pyongyang that Kim Jong Un is serious about pursuing talks with US President Donald Trump.

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"Separately, Joseph Hagin, the White House deputy chief of staff for operations, and the USA pre-advance team, including members from the State Department, are in Singapore this week, where they're conducting logistics of the expected summit", spokesperson Nauert added.

Preparations for the summit broke down last week over the insistence from leading U.S. officials that North Korea would have to dismantle its nuclear weapons programme fully and rapidly before receiving any benefits, a position Pyongyang rejected as one-sided.

Disputes between Washington and Pyongyang led Trump to announce last Thursday he was canceling the meeting with Kim due to take place in Singapore, only to say the following day that it could still go ahead. (AP/AAP) Donald Trump has praised the "very good meetings" in NY.

Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party's central committee, was allowed into the United States despite being on a US sanctions list, but the State Department has said he would likely need additional approval to travel outside the NY area.

Officials from both sides have been scrambling to make the summit happen, with separate teams dispatched to the inter-Korean border and Singapore to discuss the substance of any denuclearization agreement and logistical issues, respectively.

To drive the point home, the State Department released a photo of Pompeo pointing out of the condo's window to the splendour of the NY skyline, as if to say to the two North Koreans by his side that the same kind of wealth could be theirs, too.

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The Trump administration needed to issue a waiver for Gen. Kim to travel to NY, after the Obama administration in 2010 placed sanctions on him in his role as head of North Korea's premier intelligence agency, the Reconnaissance General Bureau.

"The potential summit between POTUS and Chairman Kim presents #DPRK with a great opportunity to achieve security and economic prosperity", Pompeo tweeted shortly before Thursday's meeting began.

North Korea's Kim Chang-son, director of the North's State Affairs Commission Secretariat, considered equivalent to a chief of staff, and Hagin, both seasoned in arranging protocol matters, were reported to have held a meeting Tuesday.

Zakharova replied that Russian Federation had "planned a number of initiatives", adding, "I think that I will be able to share more information on this subject in the near future". Pompeo and the North Korean official dined together. But the authors of the study say time is also needed to assuage North Korea's security concerns.

North Korea's leader Kim - meeting a top Russian official for the first time - thanked Moscow for standing by Pyongyang as the country tries to come in from the diplomatic cold.

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