by WorldTribune Staff, May 31, 2018
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on May 30 met for 90 minutes with North Korea’s Kim Yong-Chol, a vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Committee.
With his New York visit, Kim Yong-Chol is the highest-ranking North Korean to visit the U.S. since 2000. Kim and Pompeo had also met during the American diplomat’s trips to Pyongyang in April and May.
Kim is expected at the White House Friday. President Trump told reporters today that it may take more than one meeting with North Korea’s leader to concluded a deal. “I’d like to see it done in one meeting. But oftentimes that’s not the way deals work,” Trump said according to a Reuters report.
“I think we are looking for something historic,” a senior State Department official said in a background briefing with reporters in New York. “I think we’re looking for something that has never (been) done before.”
With 13 days to go until a potential June 12 summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, Pompeo tweeted that he had a “Good working dinner with Kim Yong-Chol in New York tonight,” Along with photos of the two shaking hands and clinking glasses over the table, Pompeo noted that “Steak, corn, and cheese on the menu.”
The State Department official said the North Koreans are looking for security, referencing Pyongyang’s long-held belief that nuclear weapons shield the country from a hostile United States.
“What we have to convince them is that, on the contrary, their nuclear program has made them less secure, that there’s a better path forward,” the official added. “We’re willing to work with them to provide them the security guarantees they feel they need, and in fact, we’re willing to go beyond that to help them have greater economic prosperity. But they have to denuclearize.”
Kim Yong-Chol’s meeting in New York with Pompeo was “expected to determine whether the two sides have enough common ground to go ahead with the summit on dismantling the North’s nuclear weapons program in exchange for concessions,” Yonhap said in a report.
Kim Yong-Chol was also expected to carry a personal letter from Kim Jong-Un amid reports the North Korean leader is committed to denuclearization and a meeting with Trump, the Yonhap report said.