'Diabolical War Criminal': North Korea's U.S. Envoy Under Sanctions for Terrorism


President Trump confirmed the news of Kim Yong Chol's trip to the USA early Tuesday, tweeting: "We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea".

In Singapore, a separate team led by White House deputy chief of staff Joe Hagin met Tuesday with a North Korean delegation led by Kim Chang-son, a senior official at the State Affairs Commission, to arrange the logistics, sources said.

Yonhap initially reported that the North Korean official on his way to Singapore was Ri Son Gwon.

A U.S. official told Reuters that Sung Kim, the former USA ambassador to South Korea, would lead an American delegation to meet North Korean officials at the border.

"The most important agenda item would be the method of denuclearisation", said Moon Sung-mook, a former South Korean military official who negotiated with Mr Kim in the past.

North Korea's mission to the United Nations in NY is its sole diplomatic presence in the United States.

His trip to the United States was confirmed by Trump, who wrote in a tweet on Tuesday morning that Kim was traveling to NY.

Trump confirmed Tuesday that Kim was to hold talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Kim Yong-chol is known to be hard to work with, sarcastic and not sufficiently deferential to his superiors, the North Korea Leadership Watch site said.

Kim Yong-chol co-ordinated the North Korean leader's two meetings with Mr Pompeo in April and May.

Now, it appears that Pompeo is getting ready for another round of discussions with Kim Yong Chol.

A State Department spokeswoman confirmed that delegations from the USA and North Korea were still in talks to possibly go ahead with the June 12 meeting, which had been canceled by Trump on Thursday citing "open hostility" from Kim.

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The second meeting between Kim and Moon in as many months reflects urgency among both men to maintain momentum for diplomacy. "This will obviously be their decision", he said.

He would be the highest-level North Korean official to travel to the US since 2000.

A senior North Korean official departed for the United States over the Memorial Day weekend with the hopes of reviving the June 12 summit between Kim Jong Un and President Trump; sparking new speculation that the high-stakes meeting is back on schedule.

The State Department and White House declined to give details of the latest talks.

Despite doubts of a denuclearized North Korea, Trump expressed optimism during the ongoing negotiations ahead of the summit. North Korea has officially denied the incident. Indeed, Trump's own reference broadly to such a connection and specifically his surprising softening of U.S. penalties on Chinese telecom company ZTE (sanctioned heavily by the United States for doing business with both North Korea and Iran) suggest Xi might indeed be angling to play several cards at once.

Moon on Sunday dodged a question on whether Kim clearly mentioned whether he would agree to the USA demand for complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization.

The key to the denuclearization deal is seen to be the extent North Korea is willing to accept complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement (CVID) of its nuclear program.

Delegates from the U.S. and North Korea arrived in Singapore on Monday, May 28, to discuss logistics and security for the summit.

The White House emphasized that it has remained in close contact with South Korean and Japanese officials as preparations for the talks continue.

Trump has confirmed that a top North Korean official, Kim Yong Chol, is headed to NY for talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Ties turned sour again after President George W. Bush took office in early 2001 with a tough policy on the North.

Kim Yong Chol's official title is a vice chairman of the central committee of the ruling Workers' Party.

The North Korean leader is believed to have plotted the attack on Cheonan, a South Korean warship, and the shelling of Yeonpyeong Island in 2010 that left 46 sailors dead.