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Top North Korean official headed for NY

02 June 2018, 01:10 | Marta Robbins

Kim Jong-un commits to North Korea denuclearization as U.S. delegation arrives

Howard an Australian Chinese impersonating North Korean leader Kim Jong Un strolls down Jubilee Bridge in Singapore

A top North Korean official headed to NY on Wednesday for talks aimed at salvaging a summit between Kim Jong Un and president Donald Trump on the future of Kim's nuclear program, in the North's highest-level mission to the United States in 18 years.

General Kim Yong-chol landed at Beijing airport today and will journey on to NY tomorrow after talks with Chinese officials, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency, which cited diplomatic sources.

The presence of USA officials in North Korea is raising expectations that a summit between President Donald Trump and the North's Kim Jong Un will take place after all.

"The most important agenda item would be the method of denuclearisation", said Moon Sung-mook, a former South Korean military official who negotiated with Kim in the past. His tweet Sunday afternoon, which offered praise for the longtime USA adversary, was the latest signal that his concerns about the North's stance toward the summit had been allayed.

Trump's confirmation of the arrival of the USA team in Pyongyang comes hours after The Washington Post reported the diplomatic mission, reports Efe news.

North Korea has faced years of isolation and economic sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs since it conducted its first nuclear test in 2006.

The CIA report, described by three US officials to NBC News, appears to contradict President Donald Trump's previous claims regarding North Korea's willingness to denuclearize.

The White House said Trump and Abe spoke Monday.

Despite repeated references to "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" by the North, it remains unclear whether Kim will ever agree to fully abandon his nuclear arsenal.

Almost 34,000 Americans died as a result of hostile action in the three-year war on the peninsula.

In a flurry of diplomacy over the weekend, Kim Jong-un and South Korean president Moon Jae-in held a surprise meeting on Saturday at the border village of Panmunjom, during which they agreed the North Korea-US summit must be held.

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"The two leaders candidly exchanged views about making the North Korea-U.S. summit a successful one and about implementing the Panmunjom Declaration", South Korea's presidential spokesman said in a statement. "What the United States wants from the North as the first step would be. the North transferring some of its nuclear warheads outside the country, destruction of intercontinental ballistic missiles that can hit the U.S. mainland", said Hong Min, senior researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification.

On Sunday, Trump tweeted that a US team had arrived in the North to make arrangements for the summit.

Trump's tweet offered praise for the longtime US adversary, and the latest signal that his concerns about the North's stance toward the summit have been allayed.

For Kim, "denuclearization can't be a one-sided event that he's giving some stuff up and not getting some comparable US action", according to Bruce Bennett senior defense analyst at the Rand Corporation research group.

"I think they might have already agreed to complete North Korea's denuclearization in stages within two years".

In October 2000, then North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the late dictator father of Kim Jong Un, sent Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok to Washington on a then-unprecedented goodwill mission.

At the same time, a "pre-advance" USA team was in Singapore to meet North Koreans.

Pence had remarked that North Korea could wind up like Libya - a country mired in chaos since it gave up its nuclear ambitions and saw its longtime dictator killed years later by US -backed rebels.

Kim Chang Son, Kim's de facto chief of staff, flew to Singapore via Beijing on Monday night, the report said.

North Korea's despotic leader has ordered Kim Yong-chol, a highly-ranked official in the hermit kingdom's one-party government, to travel to the US.

"It was like an ordinary encounter between friends", Moon told reporters. In response to reporters' questions regarding the report, South Korea's defence ministry said it does not have plans to change joint exercise schedules with the United States military.



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