North Korean ex-spy chief meets with Pompeo in New York
WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo broke bread with the most senior North Korean official to visit the U.S. in 18 years. Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol, a former military intelligence chief, had a steak dinner in New York City last night.
They’re trying to lay the groundwork for a nuclear summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
A senior State Department official described Wednesday’s meeting as an opportunity for the two sides to begin outlining both the content of the proposed summit as well as what needs to be done to make it happen.
The meeting, which is thought to have lasted around 90 minutes, is the third between the two men following Pompeo’s two trips to Pyongyang earlier this year.
Both sides have now laid out what they want from the potential summit, the State Department official said, suggesting that pre-summit talks will now focus on finding a viable path towards North Korean denuclearization.
The Trump administration has said complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization is the summit’s goal. A senior State Department official said North Korea will have to do things they’ve never done before.
“The conversation is gonna be focused on denuclearization of the peninsula,” said White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. “As long as that is part of the discussion we’re gonna continue to shoot for the June 12th and expect to do that.”
But the North Korean leader has pushed back in recent weeks, arguing a nuclear arsenal is tied to his and his country’s safety.
While Pompeo and his North Korean counterpart meet in a government-owned apartment in New York, preparations are also happening on the other side of the globe. In a North Korean border village, a U.S. ambassador is working on the agenda.
“So far the readout from these meetings has been positive and we’ll continue to move forward in them,” said Huckabee Sanders.
In Singapore, a U.S. delegation is working on protocol, security and logistics.