Published: Thu, May 31, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

The U.S. Slow Lane's OK for Japan's Automakers

The U.S. Slow Lane's OK for Japan's Automakers

The sources did not exclude that a positive result of Thursday's meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and senior North Korean official Kim Yong-chol in NY may add to Pyongyang and Washington signing an agreement on establishing bilateral diplomatic ties.

Lavrov's visit to North Korea comes amid a flurry of diplomacy ahead of a previously-canceled June 12 summit between Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump, set to take place in Singapore.

North Korea's mission to the United Nations in NY is its sole diplomatic presence in the U.S. That suggests Kim Yong-chol might have chosen to first go to NY because it would make it easier for him to communicate with officials in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital.

Lavrov spoke to his USA counterpart Mike Pompeo by telephone for the first time on Wednesday ahead of the secretary of state's dinner meeting with Kim Yong Chol.

Afterward, Pompeo said the dinner was "great" and noted they ate "American beef". It is possible these defiant editorials from North Korean state media are partially directed at China, although obviously, the primary goal is to signal that U.S. President Donald Trump will not be calling all the shots when he and Kim hold their on-again, off-again summit in June.

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Trump last week pulled out of the summit with Kim, planned for June 12 in Singapore, before announcing he had reconsidered and that US and North Korean officials were meeting to work out details.

Kim Yong Chol, believed to be 72, and Pompeo's talks will largely focus on rescheduling the summit.

Cho made the remarks in an address to a visiting European delegation, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

The State Department official said they were seeking a corresponding commitment and "action" from the North Koreans. North Korea and the United States are still technically at war and have no diplomatic ties because the 1950-53 Korean War ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty. Working-level parties from both North Korea and the United States are in the island state, looking into venues and logistics.

Kim Yong Chol was previously chief of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, a top North Korean military intelligence agency, and has spent almost 30 years as a senior member of the intelligence community.

N Korea official Kim Yong-chol 'heads to United States for talks'
Mr Kim and Mr Trump's initial decision to meet followed months of war threats and insults between the leaders over the programme. At the same time, a "pre-advance" team was traveling to Singapore to meet with North Koreans, the White House said.

Prior to Kim's arrival in New York, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said that the officials' "conversation is going to be focused on denuclearization of the peninsula as well as the summit that will take place in Singapore".

He is the most senior North Korean to visit the U.S. in almost 20 years.

Lavrov is said to have expressed his support for North Korea's plan to denuclearize, and invited Kim to Moscow to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

It is not clear why Kim traveled to NY rather than Washington DC, but North Korea lacks diplomatic relations with the U.S., so it has no embassy in Washington.

Separately on Wednesday at Pearl Harbor in Hawaii, Admiral Harry Harris, the outgoing head of U.S. Pacific Command who is Trump's pick to be the ambassador to South Korea, said North Korea remained the United States' most imminent threat.

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He added: "One major difference is that the current process is a top-down process where Trump himself personally makes the decision "we will do the summit", "we will not do the summit"; and that kind of process may deliver extremely significant outcomes, but at the same time I think that there is a high risk that it would also lead to disastrous outcomes".

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