Second Day of Pre-Summit Nuclear Talks for U.S., North Korea

Hannah Rogers
May 31, 2018

Even so, Japan's decision to direct the suspicion complaint towards the United Nations is expected to have been provoked by the news of former North Korea head of military intelligence, Kim Yong Chol, heading to the USA to try and salvage the upcoming summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. Trump had mused that Kim's "attitude" had changed after the North Korean leader's surprise visit to China two weeks ago, suggesting China was pushing Kim away from the table.

The idea, which Tokyo officials declined to confirm, was reported by major local media as preparations appear back on track for an unprecedented summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

The point person for US preparations, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, met with Kim Yong Chol, a top adviser to Kim Jong Un and vice chairman of the Central Committee Wednesday.

"The order was to make thorough counter-plans against the enemies' pretentious peace strategy while people and cadres are thinking about whether the current situation has already brought peace", he said. "However, we can build a technically flawless modern facility if we want to in the future".

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A source familiar with Japan-North Korea affairs said that following last month's inter-Korean summit, Tokyo contacted a North Korean official in a third country to express its intent to hold such talks.

Kim was known as a leading student activist in the 1980s who spread North Korea's Juche ideology, but later became an activist promoting democracy and human rights in North Korea. It's the highest-level official North Korean visit to the United States in 18 years.

North Korea's flurry of diplomatic activity following a torrid run in nuclear weapons and missile tests in 2017 suggests that Kim Jong Un is eager for sanctions relief to build his economy and the worldwide legitimacy the summit with Trump would provide. I believe they will be coming down to Washington on Friday.

While the Central Committee's statement served to cushion possible "psychological unrest" among citizens, it also included phrasing to indicate that the North has not abandoned its nuclear power ambitions, the source said. Written in English by Roseanne Gerin.

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