North Korea's former spy chief Kim Yong-chol travels to US

North Korea's former spy chief Kim Yong-chol travels to US

North Korea's former spy chief Kim Yong-chol travels to US

Three senior United States officials with knowledge of the situation told CNN details about the preparatory talks.

The talks, which Moon said Kim Jong Un requested, capped a whirlwind 24 hours of diplomatic back and forth.

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. But history shows that such trips don't always lead to summits: The high hopes raised by a similar North Korean mission 18 years ago ended up dashed.

He would be the highest-level North Korean official to travel to the US since 2000.

North Korea responded to Trump's cancellation by saying it regretted the US President's decision, but appreciated his willingness to actually sit down with Kim Jong Un and said it was still willing to do so.

Trump told reporters Saturday that: "We're doing very well in terms of the summit with North Korea", adding that "there are meetings going on as we speak". Kim ordered the complex to be finished by April 15 next year to mark the birthday of his late grandfather and North Korea founder Kim Il-sung.

They agreed to have their top officials meet again June 1.

The results of this week's parallel talks are likely to dictate whether the June 12 summit between Trump and Kim is possible, according to a U.S. official familiar with the ongoing deliberations.

Trump views the meeting as a legacy-defining opportunity to make the nuclear deal that has evaded others, but he pledged to walk away from the meeting if he believed the North wasn't serious about discussing dismantling its nuclear program.

Kim conveyed this position to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, with whom he also agreed to hold another high-level inter-Korean meeting on 1 June, during the unannounced summit they held in Panmunjom, on the militarized border between the two countries, Efe reported.

On Sunday, the Wall Street Journal quoted two USA administration officials as saying that Washington was readying a major new sanctions push against North Korea but could hold off on implementing it to avoid disrupting the delicate talks to revive the summit.

North Korea has been keeping China in the loop regarding its recent surge in diplomacy with South Korea and the US, and Lavrov's trip may be aimed at doing the same for Russian Federation, which was part of a stalled six-party process to bring about the North's denuclearization. Moon said North Korea was not convinced it could trust security guarantees from the United States.

Moon was accompanied by his spy chief, Suh Hoon, while Kim was joined by Kim Yong Chol, a former military intelligence chief who is now Kim's top official on inter-Korean relations.

Before he canceled the summit, Trump this past week did not rule out an incremental approach that would provide incentives along the way to the North. The U.S. has also accused Kim of orchestrating the 2014 hack that exposed thousands of emails from executives at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Kim Yong-chol, a senior official with close ties to the North Korean leader, was seen by journalists who reported he was on his way to the US.

"Our United States team has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the Summit between Kim Jong Un and myself", Trump tweeted.

General Kim Yong Chol landed at Beijing airport on Tuesday and will journey on to NY the following day after talks with Chinese officials, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency. The two leaders embraced as Moon departed.

The Post said the talks at the border would continue on Monday and Tuesday at Tongilgak, the North's building in Panmunjom, where the truce suspending the 1950-53 Korean War was signed.

He is still eager to meet next month with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and to talk about dismantling that country's nuclear weapons program.

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