Published: Sun, January 20, 2019
Global Media | By Garry Long

Trump to meet N.Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol - White House

Trump to meet N.Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol - White House

Sarah Sanders, the White House press secretary, said: "President Donald J. Trump will meet with Kim Yong Chol, Vice Chairman of the Workers Party of Korea and Chairman of the Korea Asia Pacific Peace Committee, today at 12:15pm in the Oval Office".

Trump also said progress was being made toward a trade deal with North Korea's main backer, China, but denied he was considering lifting tariffs on Chinese products.

On Thursday a North Korean envoy arrived in Washington for talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo aimed a laying the groundwork for a second US-North Korea summit.

South Korea confirms the new summit between the US and North Korea to be held next month.

In a visit in June, he delivered a letter to Mr Trump ahead of historic talks between both countries.

Mr Trump has spoken several times of having a second summit early this year and has exchanged multiple letters with Kim. But he said: "Both nations must now show at least some tangible benefits from their diplomatic efforts during a second summit, or risk their efforts being panned as nothing more than reality TV".

According to South Korea's latest defense white paper published on Tuesday, "North Korea produced between 2,500 to 5,000 tons of chemical and biological weapons since the 1980s, while it is capable of cultivating and producing a wide range of biological weapons including anthrax, smallpox and bubonic plague".

Trump met Kim in Singapore for a historic summit in June 2018, but negotiations between top USA administration officials and their North Korean counterparts have sputtered and stalled since then.

The United States wants swift and irreversible denuclearization, while North Korea has made clear it wants phased, synchronized and reciprocal actions that would include easing punishing sanctions.

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Pompeo's visits to North Korea previous year were marked by tense meetings that yielded few results.

Trump said his unprecedented one-on-one Kim went "better than anybody could have expected" and hailed their "special bond".

This would be the second summit between the two leaders, following their historic meeting in Singapore in June.

A planned meeting between Pompeo and Chol in NY last November was called off abruptly.

The U.S. and North Korea seemed close to war at points during 2017.

The North has demanded that the US end harsh economic penalties and provide security guarantees before the it takes any steps beyond its initial suspension of nuclear and missile tests. The State Department stopped just short of saying that meeting will take place, saying on Friday night that Biegun will attend an worldwide conference in Sweden this weekend.

Kim, speaking through a translator, said the "world will see a major change" as the USA and North Korea have chose to "leave the past behind".

Experts and former officials say Kim Jong Un's strategy in recent months has been to spurn top Trump deputies and hold out for direct negotiations with the president himself.

Kim has pledged to dismantle his most important nuclear processing site at Yongbyon if the United States takes "corresponding steps", while also claiming in a New Year's Day speech that he has stopped producing nuclear weapons.

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