Top NK official heads to USA as summit negotiations continue

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Planning for the historic summit, initially scheduled for June 12, appears to be moving ahead after the United States president called it off last week.

On May 24, Trump said he was pulling out from the summit, citing hostility from North Korea. It is hard to imagine a scenario where even the most hawkish American advisors are able to convince the president to start a potentially horrific war in the absence of any provocations on the North Korean side.

White House in a statement said: "The President and Prime Minister affirmed the shared imperative of achieving the complete and permanent dismantlement of North Korea's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and ballistic missile programs".

Trump signaled that preparations for a June 12 summit with Kim were going ahead, despite having called it off last week, and a White House team was scheduled to depart for Singapore this weekend to prepare for the possible summit. Sung Kim, the former U.S. ambassador to South Korea who is now ambassador to the Philippines, led that American delegation, a United States official told Reuters. Kim was accompanied by Choe Kang-il, a diplomat in charge of US affairs, who was also seen at the airport. It earlier reported that he was heading straight to Washington, but later said he changed his flight to NY.

Moon could travel to Singapore for a three-way summit with Kim and Trump next month, Yonhap reported yesterday. The American delegation there is led by Mr Sung Kim, a veteran of previous nuclear negotiations with North Korea and now the United States ambassador to the Philippines.

"Solid response to my letter, thank you!" tweeted Trump.

Impersonators pretending to be U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un pose at the main stadium of the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea February 25, 2018.

A former spy chief, he has been part of recent high-profile diplomatic overtures by the North. The group first met with their counterparts Sunday, and was seen leaving a Seoul hotel on Tuesday, but it was unclear whether they went to Panmunjom, a village that straddles the border inside the Demilitarized Zone.

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The United States and South Korea blacklisted him for supporting the North's nuclear and missile programmes in 2010 and 2016, respectively, so a visit to the United States would indicate that a waiver was granted.

Soon after this appointment, however, he was reportedly sent for "ideological re-education" as punishment for an "overbearing attitude", according to South Korean daily JoongAng Ilbo.

Japanese broadcaster NHK reported that Kim Chang-son, Kim Jong Un's de facto chief of staff, arrived in Singapore on Monday, showing footage of him at the airport escorted by three bodyguards.

The trip comes as Washington and Pyongyang are holding working-level talks on the summit agenda and issues related to security and protocol.

The general was also one of the welcoming party for US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recent visit to Pyongyang, and his planned trip to Washington is thought to be a reciprocal gesture.

Diplomacy has accelerated ahead of a potential summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Meetings are now taking place concerning Summit, and more.

Cheong Wa Dae earlier said the Seoul government was already studying the possibility of a three-way summit following a successful U.S.

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