Kim Yong-chol: N Korea leader Kim Jong-un's right hand man

Charlene Craig
May 29, 2018

Chung Sung-yoon, an analyst at the Korea Institute for National Unification, said Kim Yong-chol would be the most senior North Korean official to step onto USA soil since Vice Marshall Jo Myong-rok met then-president Bill Clinton in 2000.

A team of American diplomats involved in preparatory discussions ahead of a potential summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un have left a hotel in Seoul amid speculation that they are resuming the talks.

Moon could travel to Singapore for a three-way summit with Kim and Trump next month, Yonhap reported Monday.

US officials have talked about a comprehensive one-shot deal in which North Korea eliminates its nukes first and receives rewards later.

On Sunday, the U.S. state department said American and North Korean officials had met at Panmunjom. "I hope that if the North Korea-US summit is successful, the declaration of the Korean war will be pursued through the trilateral summit".

"This combination of positions in the party and state makes Kim one of the most powerful figures in North Korea", according to North Korea Leadership Watch, a website that tracks senior regime figures".

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Kim Chang-son, a close aide of North Korea's ruling Kim family and high-level party official, had also been spotted in Beijing on Saturday.

The two teams met yesterday on the northern side of Panmunjom.

The U.S. and North Korea are seeking common ground on the steps it would take for Kim Jong Un to give up his nuclear weapons.

The US has made a decision to hold off on implementing major new sanctions on North Korea while attempts to revive the summit are underway, the Wall Street Journal reported yesterday.

South Korean officials couldn't immediately confirm the report. By Sunday, diplomatic and technical experts from the United States and North Korea had met in the North Korean part of the Demilitarised Zone that separates the two Koreas in an effort to salvage the summit meeting, which was planned for June 12 in Singapore.

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. "But success depends on how far North Korea is willing to go in denuclearisation, what kind of terms and conditions North Korea will demand, and to what extent Trump is going to accommodate North Korean demands".

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Kim, who is known to be well-versed in denuclearization and security issues, is subject to sanctions by the U.S. Treasury Department for his involvement in the North's nuclear program and other illicit activities.

The issue is central in determining whether the US-North Korea meeting succeeds, and whether Moon is an effective facilitator, said Chun Yung-woo, a former South Korean national security adviser and nuclear negotiator with the North.

Much of the communication between the United States and North Korea has happened via their intelligence network, especially as Mike Pompeo's first visit to Pyongyang at the beginning of April was while he was still director of the Central Intelligence Agency and secretary of state nominee.

During her stay in Pyongyang, Kim Jong Il took Albright to one of the mass games spectacles that included a giant mosaic displaying a rocket flying into the sky.

Schriver, a former deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific security affairs, accompanied Pompeo to Pyongyang in early May.

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