Former North Korean spy chief heads to United States for talks

Former North Korean spy chief heads to United States for talks

Former North Korean spy chief heads to United States for talks

Kim was reportedly accompanied at Beijing airport by deputy director general for North American affairs at the DPRK Ministry of Foreign Affairs Choe Kang Il, though reports did not say if Choe would accompany Kim to NY.

The US president confirmed via Twitter that Kim Yong Chol would make the trip after South Korean media reported that his name was among the list of passengers on a flight from Beijing on Wednesday. But Trump cancelled the meeting Thursday "based on the tremendous anger and open hostility" displayed after a North Korean official bashed Vice President Mike Pence while threatening to instigate a nuclear showdown. 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.

Kim Yong Chol is one of the vice chairmen of the Workers' Party of Korea, the communist organization through which the ruling family controls North Korea, but is not technically the No. 2 behind Kim Jong Un. "Ultimately, denuclearisation and guaranteeing the North Korean regime can be considered the axis of the agenda (for the US-North Korea summit)", the official was quoted as saying. It defends its nuclear and missile programs as a deterrent against what it sees as US aggression.

"We absolutely oppose a visit to the South by Kim Yong-chol, the main culprit of the Cheonan's sinking", said Kim Sung-tae, floor leader of the opposition Liberty Korea Party.

Howard X, who speaks English flawlessly, said the objective of his trip was to wish for a successful summit between the real Kim and Trump.

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At their first meeting on April 27, Kim Jong Un and Moon announced vague aspirations for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula and permanent peace, which Seoul has tried to sell as a meaningful breakthrough that increases the chances of successful talks between Kim and Trump.

A former military spy chief, Kim Yong Chol has been a central player in the recent thaw in relations between North Korea and South Korea, as well as the United States.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who had been instrumental in encouraging the two leaders to convene, met with Kim Jong Un over the weekend, which South Korea's Yonhap news agency said Kim Jong Un had requested.

The two may meet to put final touches on the preparations for the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in could make a trip to Singapore for a three-way summit with his US and North Korean counterparts next month, depending on the outcome of ongoing discussions between Washington and Pyongyang, a ranking government official here said Monday.

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During that period North Korea ramped up its hacking programmes, including a hugely costly penetration of Sony Pictures.

North Korea denied any involvement in both attacks.

The White House also sent a logistical group to Singapore on Sunday to prepare in the event the summit is held there on June 12.

Analysts say that the North will most importantly need iron-clad security guarantees if it is to genuinely give up its nuclear weapons.

Since the 1970s, the United States and South Korea have been holding a major summertime exercise called Ulchi Freedom Guardian that involves tens of thousands of troops.

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