MNA International Desk: High-ranking officials of the United States and North Korea met in New York late on Wednesday in the first of two days of talks about the future of Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme and a possible summit between US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung Un.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol, a close aide of North Korean leader Kim Jung Un, met for about 90 minutes over dinner and exited without providing any detailed remarks to reporters waiting outside.
Earlier in the day, the White House left open the possibility of a Trump-Kim summit on 12 June in Singapore, despite Trump’s cancellation of the meeting just days ago.
As the dinner was underway inside an apartment on New York’s East Side, just south of the United Nations, a senior State Department official separately briefed reporters on the high-level talks that were underway.
Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Committee, “are trying to get to know each other” following their two initial meetings this year in North Korea, said the US official who asked not to be identified.
The official added that before any summit between the two leaders can occur, Pyongyang is “going to have to make clear what they are willing to do” amid demands from Washington that North Korea permanently end its nuclear weapons program, reported news agency.
Trump, the official said, “can make a fly or no-fly decision anytime he wants,” referring to the possible unprecedented Singapore summit.
If not enough progress is made to lead to a productive meeting between Trump and Kim Jung Un, the official said, “We will ramp up the pressure on them and we’ll be ready for the day that hopefully they are ready.”