North Korean official Kim Yong Chol leaves for talks with Mike Pompeo

North Korean official Kim Yong Chol leaves for talks with Mike Pompeo

North Korean official Kim Yong Chol leaves for talks with Mike Pompeo

And so during the years of that administration, there were periodic contacts between senior Central Intelligence Agency officials and Kim Yong Chol to see if it was possible to start denuclearization talks.

Kim Yong Chol, the North Korean leader's right hand man, was expected to arrive Wednesday in NY where he will meet later this week with Pompeo, Sanders said. Moon said Kim said he looked forward to meeting with Trump and "made clear once again his intentions to completely denuclearize the Korean Peninsula".

DETROW: Well, this is the latest indication that the summit might be inching back toward more on than off. President Trump confirmed this this morning, saying this high-ranking North Korean official is on his way to NY.

North Korea's mission to the United Nations in NY is its sole diplomatic presence in the United States. The last official of his stature to visit the United States was Jo Myong Rok, the late first vice chairman of the National Defence Commission, who visited Washington in 2000, South Korea's Unification Ministry said.

Kim will be the first senior North Korean official to visit the United States in nearly 20 years. Trump later confirmed this information in his Twitter. But it wasn't immediately known what else he would do in the United States.

The remarks came in the wake of South Korean President Moon Jae-in's unexpected meeting with Kim Jong-un on Saturday. He also attended the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February at the start of Kim Jong Un's charm offensive. He has had the summits with Moon and Xi, as well as two meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

A heightened level of presidential urgency is spurring discussions among American and North Korean counterparts two weeks ahead of an off-again, on-again summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un.

Deputy White House chief of staff Joe Hagin is also traveling in Singapore with a team to plan for logistics. The President has publicly discarded those worries and sent signals he is intent on carrying out the talks he himself canceled only four days ago.

The White House is prepared for a planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to take place on June 12, the original date proposed for the on-again-off-again meeting, White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said on Tuesday.

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A high-ranking North Korean official left for NY on Wednesday from Beijing to hold talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, as both sides accelerate the pace of preparations for a possible summit between their leaders. Details of those talks hadn't emerged yet.

"What Kim is unclear about is that he has concerns about whether his country can surely trust the United States over its promise to end hostile relations (with North Korea) and provide a security guarantee if they do denuclearization", Moon said.

INSKEEP: Ryan Crocker, former US diplomat, was on the program elsewhere in the program today and says at one point, these are two unpredictable regimes.

On Sunday, current United States ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim led a team to the northern side of the "Unification House" along the DMZ for talks on North Korea's nuclear program. Beijing backs the North's proposal for a phased and synchronized denuclearization process, while the United States insists on a comprehensive one-shot deal in which North Korea eliminates its nukes first and receives rewards later.

The talks are expected to continue this week.

The U.S. officials are led by Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, who formerly was the U.S. ambassador to Seoul and a top negotiator with North Korea in past nuclear talks.

The warming ties between the two countries chilled after President George W. Bush took office in January 2001, taking a tough line on the North.

Kim Yong Chol at Beijing airport on Tuesday.

Kim has been a controversial choice for diplomacy: South Korea blames him for a deadly 2010 attack on a military vessel as well as the shelling of an island that same year.

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