Published: Fri, June 01, 2018
World | By Camille Rivera

President Trump, Kim Jong Un summit needs a plan

President Trump, Kim Jong Un summit needs a plan

The meeting, led by White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Joe Hagin on the US side and director of department at the State Affairs Commission and Kim Jong Un's chief secretary Kim Chang Son on the DPRK side, will reportedly discuss "practical issues" surrounding the planned summit in Singapore in talks on Tuesday.

President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe agreed Monday that it is "imperative" to completely dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program, the White House said.

He is one of a small group of North Korean officials who have accompanied Kim Jong Un to all four of his summits with foreign leaders in recent months - twice with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and twice with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The call came as diplomatic efforts to salvage the summit, which now appears back on track despite Trump's letter, moved into high gear, with US and North Korean officials meeting at the peace village of Panmunjom on the North-South border and in Singapore.

And, in Singapore, North Korean and US delegates are coordinating logistics and protocol-related issues for the potential Trump-Kim talks, which may happen as previously scheduled June 12th.

Kim Yong Chol, the North Korean leader's right hand man, was expected to arrive Wednesday in NY where he will meet later this week with Pompeo, Sanders said.

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Kim Yong Chol will be the most senior North Korean on United States soil since Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok met then-president Bill Clinton in 2000.

WIT: Well, Kim Yong Chol, as you said, is a very important official in the North Korean government. The visit could be part of preparation for a proposed meeting between Mr Kim and President Donald Trump. Officials are discussing the substance of any summit agreement, focusing on the thorny issue of denuclearization, with a North Korean team led by Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui. There's also speculation that American officials are trying to persuade the North Koreans to export a certain number of its nuclear warheads overseas at an early stage as proof of its commitment to denuclearize.

But events have moved quickly since Kim Jong Un made a conciliatory New Year's address at the end of last year, following months of sharply rising tension and war-like rhetoric between Trump and Kim.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang, August 25, 2017.

"What Kim is unclear about is that he has concerns about whether his country can surely trust the United States over its promise to end hostile relations (with North Korea) and provide a security guarantee if they do denuclearization", Mr. Moon said.

But he has been at his leader's side at key summit meetings this year, and his current trip to Beijing is seen as a stopping-off point for a solo trip to America.

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The North Korean delegation appeared to include Choe Kang-il, acting director-general for North American affairs at Pyongyang's Foreign ministry, and Kim Song-hye, an official who has always been in charge of inter-Korean issues.

Keep in mind that administration surrogates often don't know what is going on, the president is not a reliable indicator of what his own administration is up to, and South Korea's optimistic spin on North Korea's intentions can depart substantially from Pyongyang's actual position.

On Sunday, US negotiators, headed by Washington's ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, began meeting North Korean counterparts in the truce village of Panmunjom in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) that divides the two Koreas. Kim Yong Chol is, I think, the go-to person.

A USA official told Reuters that Sung Kim, the former US ambassador to South Korea, was leading the American delegation to meet North Korean officials at the border.

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

The Washington Post reported that talks inside the Demilitarised Zone would continue this week between U.S. and North Korean officials.

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Since the 1970s, the United States and South Korea have been holding a major summertime exercise called Ulchi Freedom Guardian that involves tens of thousands of troops. The main stumbling block is likely to be the concept of "denuclearization" - both sides say they want it, but there is a yawning gap between their definitions. South Korea's Defense Ministry said Tuesday there have been no discussions yet between Washington and Seoul on modifying the drills, which usually take place in August.

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