Trump sees ‘brilliant potential’ for North Korea as summit prep continues

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Sung Kim, the USA ambassador to the Philippines, also served as ambassador to South Korea and was part of the U.S. negotiating team that last held substantive denuclearisation talks with North Korea during the George W Bush administration in 2005. Now, according to a statement from State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert on Sunday, a USA delegation "is in ongoing talks with North Korean officials at Panmunjom", too.

At the same time, a "pre-advance" U.S. team was in Singapore to meet the North Koreans and the White House announced on Tuesday that Mr Trump would meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on June 7.

The announcement followed a tweet from U.S. President Donald Trump Tuesday morning, saying that Kim Yong Chol is "heading now to NY".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tapped veteran American diplomat Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, to handle pre-summit negotiations.

Kim Jong Un has expressed a willingness to cooperate to end confrontation between the two Koreans and work toward peace for the sake of a successful summit with Trump, South Korean officials have said.

The apparent progress in the on-again-off-again talks followed a tense and turbulent few days of diplomatic brinkmanship. And Trump has been tweeting positive messages about what he calls their very productive talks, suggesting the summit could happen as initially conceived in Singapore June 12. US officials familiar with planning said he was scheduled to meet with Pompeo on Thursday.

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"We're still finalising exactly what these meetings will look like", she said.

Details of Pompeo's meet with Kim Yong Chol were not immediately clear.

Trump confirmed Tuesday that Kim was to hold talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. But their quickly arranged meeting appeared to highlight a sense of urgency on both sides of the world's most heavily armed border.

"The discussions (between the United States and North Korea) has just begun, so what are we waiting for, what are their results, and depending on the outcome of the President (South Korea) may join the President Trump and President, Kim Jong Ynu", - said the Agency interlocutor. In his official signed letter he says, "Based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting".

Seoul blames him for masterminding the 2010 sinking of the South Korean navy corvette the Cheonan, which killed 46 sailors, an attack North Korea denies playing any role in.

He sat next to Trump's daughter Ivanka, who is also a White House aide, during the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in the South Korean resort of Pyeongchang which was a turning point in the nuclear crisis.

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Kim Yong Chol is one of the vice chairmen of the Workers' Party of Korea, the communist organization through which the ruling family controls North Korea, but is not technically the No. 2 behind Kim Jong Un.

An AFP photographer saw Kim Chang Son, Kim Jong Un's de facto chief of staff, in Singapore Tuesday for preparatory discussions there.

"Should the North Korea-US summit succeed, I would like to see efforts to formally end the (Korean) war through a three-way summit of the South, the North and the US", he told a press briefing.

In this May 26, 2018 photo provided by South Korea Presidential Blue House via Yonhap News Agency, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, is guided by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, at the northern side of Panmunjom in North Korea. South Korea's intelligence agency said in 2015 Kim Yong Chol was demoted to a three-star general after dozing off during a meeting. Reports said that talks continued until Tuesday.

He also coordinated Kim Jong Un's two meetings with Pompeo in Pyongyang.

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