The Latest: Trump confirms NKorean official headed to NY
SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — The Latest on preparations for a possible summit between President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un (all times local):
President Donald Trump has confirmed that top North Korean official Kim Yong Chol is heading to New York for talks on an upcoming summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Trump tweeted early Tuesday: “We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea. Meetings are currently taking place concerning Summit, and more. Kim Young Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to New York. Solid response to my letter, thank you!”
South Korea’s Yonhap News said Tuesday it saw the name of Kim Yong Chol on the passengers’ list for a flight Tuesday from Beijing to Washington. They later reported that Kim changed his flight to go to New York on Wednesday.
Kim is a former military intelligence chief and now a vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party’s central committee tasked with inter-Korean relations.
South Korean media say a senior North Korean official is heading to the United States, potentially to participate in preparatory negotiations to set up a possible meeting between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
South Korea’s Yonhap news said Tuesday it saw the name of Kim Yong Chol on the passengers’ list for a flight Tuesday from Beijing to Washington. They later reported that Kim changed his flight to go to New York on Wednesday, but it wasn’t clear why. Kim was seen in the Beijing airport Tuesday by Associated Press Television.
The South Korean presidential office couldn’t confirm the report.
Kim Yong Chol is a former military intelligence chief and now a vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party’s central committee tasked with inter-Korean relations.
A team of American diplomats involved in preparatory discussions ahead of a potential summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have left a hotel in Seoul amid speculation that they are resuming the talks.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether the American officials including Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to Manila, were heading Tuesday to the border village between the Koreas where they met with North Korean officials on Sunday.
Trump withdrew from a planned June 12 Singapore summit with Kim last Thursday citing hostile North Korean comments, but has since said the meeting could still happen. South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with Kim on Saturday in an effort to keep the meeting alive.
The White House says President Donald Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe plan to meet in advance of the “expected meeting” between Trump and North Korea’s leader.
The White House said Trump and Abe spoke Monday. They discussed their shared goal of achieving “the complete and permanent dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and ballistic missile programs.”
The call came amid a whirlwind of activity over the possible June 12 summit in Singapore. Trump pulled out of the meeting Kim Jong Un last week, but then said a day later that it could get back on track. The White House’s latest characterization of the meeting as “expected” appears to be a further sign that it could go ahead.
Trump said Sunday that a U.S. team was in North Korea to work on plans. Another U.S. delegation was in Singapore to work on logistics.