Top DPRK envoy dines with US Secretary of State Pompeo ahead of official talks
Senior Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) official Kim Yong Chol met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday over dinner, ahead of the planned high-level talks on Thursday.
Kim and Pompeo dined for roughly 90 minutes and exited without providing any detailed remarks to reporters waiting outside. Pompeo said the dinner "was great" and that the two men had "American beef".
The talks between the two are seen as a prelude to a potential summit between DPRK leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.
The two were originally scheduled to meet on June 12 in Singapore, but Trump sent shock waves across the globe last week when he called off the meeting in a letter sent to Kim. Hopes were since revived after Trump announced the meeting could still happen, with the US sending a "pre-advance team" for Singapore and carrying out talks with the DPRK at the Demilitarized Zone.
A full-day meeting
White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said during a daily press briefing that Pompeo, who traveled to New York, will have a full-day meeting with Kim Yong Chol on Thursday.
The spokesperson also noted that just a day ago, a US delegation – led by US veteran diplomat Sung Kim –met with the DPRK officials at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ), and their talks will continue.
"So far, the readout from these meetings has been positive, and we'll continue to move forward in them," she added.
Trump also tweeted on Tuesday, calling Kim Yong Chol's visit to New York a "solid response" to his letter.
Who is Kim Yong Chol?
General Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee, is the highest-ranking DPRK official to have visited the United States since 2000.
He is officially banned from traveling to the US – due to sanctions against him for supporting DPRK’s weapons programs – and likely received a waiver to enter the country.
The 72-year-old former intelligence chief, who is known to be close to the DPRK leader, has recently become a high-profile diplomatic figure.
He accompanied Kim Jong Un to all four of his summits with foreign leaders in recent months – twice with the Republic of Korea President Moon Jae-in and twice with Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Earlier in February, he made an appearance at the closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics, where Trump's daughter Ivanka was also in attendance.
(Source_title：Top DPRK envoy dines with US Secretary of State Pompeo ahead of official talks)