April 19, 2021

Top North Korean official visits Trump at White House.

A close confidant of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un met with President Trump at the White House on Friday, the latest sign the two nations’ historic nuclear summit is getting back on track.

The official, Kim Yong Chol, is the highest-ranking North Korean representative to visit the White House in 18 years. He has been deeply involved in nuclear talks for years.

The former spy chief was greeted on the South Lawn by Trump chief of staff John Kelly, who walked him into the Diplomatic Reception Room and along the Colonnade into the Oval Office — a path usually taken by foreign leaders visiting the president.

The North Korean envoy is expected to hand-deliver a letter from Kim to Trump, which will reportedly convey the leader’s desire to meet with the president.

Kim Yong Chol spent the past two days meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York in order to set the conditions for the talks, which were scheduled to take place on June 12 in Singapore.

After the meeting, Pompeo said the two sides had made “real progress” in resolving their nuclear differences but declined to say if there was a breakthrough.
That lingering dispute has cast doubt over whether the Trump-Kim summit will go ahead as planned.

North Korea has previously balked at U.S. demands for Kim to give up his nuclear weapons. Their aggressive objections, which slammed Vice President Mike Pence and national security adviser John Bolton, led Trump to cancel the summit.

But Pyongyang issued a conciliatory statement in response to the cancellation and talks between the two nations quickly resumed.

Source: The Hill