North Korea summit: Donald Trump says Kim aide in USA for talks

Kim Jong-un commits to North Korea denuclearization as U.S. delegation arrives

Kim Jong-un commits to North Korea denuclearization as U.S. delegation arrives

A team of USA officials crossed into North Korea on Sunday for talks to prepare for a summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, as both sides press ahead with arrangements despite the question marks hanging over the meeting.

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. Sung Kim, the former United States ambassador to South Korea and current ambassador to the Philippines, led the U.S. delegation, an official said.

Trump tweeted earlier that the senior North Korean official was en route to the USA, calling the visit a "solid response to my letter".

Earlier it was reported Kim Yong Choi was likely heading to the US, with South Korea's Yonhap News saying it saw the vice chairman's name on the passengers' list for a flight from Beijing to Washington on Tuesday.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has traveled to Pyongyang, North Korea's capital, twice in recent weeks for meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and has said there is a "shared understanding" between the two sides about what they hope to achieve.

Russian Federation said Wednesday that its foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, will travel to North Korea for talks on Thursday.

USA and North Korean officials held preliminary talks at the Korean border and were expected to hold a separate set of working-level meetings in Singapore to discuss protocol, security and other logistical issues for the summit. Trump pulled out of the meeting Kim Jong Un last week, but then said a day later that it could get back on track.

The meeting, led by White House Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations Joe Hagin on the USA side and director of department at the State Affairs Commission and Kim Jong Un's chief secretary Kim Chang Son on the DPRK side, will reportedly discuss "practical issues" surrounding the planned summit in Singapore in talks on Tuesday. Randall Schriver, the assistant secretary of defense for East Asia and one of the officials who accompanied Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang earlier this month, also is in Seoul. The North's arsenal now includes purported thermonuclear warheads and developmental long-range missiles potentially capable of reaching mainland USA cities.

The White House said a "pre-advance" team was travelling to Singapore to meet with the North Koreans.

Clinton eventually visited North Korea as a former president in 2009 to secure the freedom of two detained American journalists.

Delegates from the United States and North Korea arrived in Singapore on Monday, May 28, to discuss logistics and security for the summit. He arrived in Beijing on Tuesday.

Despite the cancellation, talks about the summit have continued, including a meeting between North Korean and USA delegations on Sunday. South Korean media speculated that Pompeo could make a third trip to Pyongyang after Kim Yong Chol's US trip.

US President Donald Trump confirmed Kim Yong-chol's destination though his tweet post.

North Korea vehemently denies any involvement in the torpedoing of the ship, in which 46 sailors died.

North Korea, in return, would demand the U.S. normalize its relations with it, ease sanctions against it and remove it from a list of state sponsors of terrorism, which could immediately help the North's economy.

While Kim Yong Chol's possible trip to the United States could further brighten the prospects for the summit, history shows that things could still crumble at the last minute even after an exchange of high-level officials.

A report issued on Tuesday by the Washington-based Institute of Science and International Security argued it could be done in as little as two years for verified dismantling of key parts of the nuclear weapons program.

But Washington wants North Korea's nuclear program to be the focal point. He was linked by U.S intelligence to a devastating cyber attack on Sony Pictures in 2014.

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