Senior North Korean official spotted at airport, reportedly heading to US

Hannah Rogers
May 29, 2018

"Kim Jong Un knows his [nuclear] program inside and out", Hayden told ABC News Global Correspondent and "This Week" co-anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday.

The president's reference to a bright future echoes recent remarks by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo envisioning major investments by USA companies and those of other nations if Kim ends his country's pariah status by giving up its nuclear arsenal.

Talks of reviving the planned summit seem back on track, as United States officials continue to meet with North Korean counterparts at the DMZ this week.

Nauert provided no further details.

There could be division under Kim within North Korea's hierarchy about the diplomatic approach to the Americans, according to Bennet. The officials are meeting through Tuesday attempting to get the June 12 summit in Singapore back in motion.

Mr. Trump called off the summit Thursday following threats of nuclear war from North Korea, only to give fresh hope Friday that negotiations to stage the summit were in the works.

Mr Trump told reporters at the White House during a meeting with a United States prisoner freed by Venezuela: "It's moving along very nicely".

Some say Trump's sudden willingness to cancel the summit rattled Pyongyang, which has since dialed down its rhetoric and expressed a willingness to talk "at any time".

"In some ways, Kim Jong-un may have met his match here with our very unconventional president", said former Director of National Intelligence James Clapper on CNN's "State of the Union".

It has long said it is open to eventually giving up its nuclear arsenal if the U.S. withdraws its troops from South Korea and ends its "nuclear umbrella" alliance with Seoul. USA financial markets will be closed Monday for Memorial Day.

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North Korea defends its nuclear and missile programmes as a deterrent against perceived aggression by the USA, which keeps 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war, which ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.

Mr Joseph Hagin, a deputy White House chief of staff, is leading a separate delegation to Singapore, to make decisions on the arrangements for the potentially historic but off-again, on-again summit between the North Korean leader and President Donald Trump.

"The goal here is to achieve maximum pressure", a senior administration official told The Journal last week.

Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in met for two hours on the North Korean side of the demilitarized zone.

The second meeting between Kim and Moon in as many months reflects urgency among both men to maintain momentum for diplomacy.

"We get that done and we can be successful in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, that would be a great thing for North Korea, it would be a great thing for South Korea, it would be great for Japan, it would be great for the world, it would be great for the United States, it would be great for China". "They are going to be best friends right after this meeting".

Photos released by South Korea's presidential office showed Moon arriving at the North Korean side of the Panmunjom truce village on Saturday and shaking hands with Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, before sitting down with Kim for their summit. South Korea and China account for nearly all of North Korea's land borders, so their support is essential for enforcing sanctions ramped up a year ago after Kim declared the ability to strike the US with a nuclear weapon.

The U.S. president has increasingly offered economic rewards in exchange for denuclearization, although the exact terms of any deal are unclear.

The news of an American delegation in the North was later confirmed by the U.S. State Department. Trump, who has since teased that the summit might still happen, tweeted about the diplomatic efforts in North Korea late Sunday afternoon, expressing his optimism that the US team's arrangements will pan out.

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