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19 January, 2019 12:30:46 AM / LAST MODIFIED: 19 January, 2019 08:18:11 AM

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N Korea envoy in US

2nd Trump-Kim summit
AFP, Washington
N Korea envoy in US

A top North Korean general was paying a rare visit yesterday to Washington, where he is expected to meet President Donald Trump to finalise a new summit aimed at denuclearization and easing decades of hostility.

Kim Yong Chol, a right-hand man to leader Kim Jong Un, is the first North Korean dignitary in nearly two decades known to have spent the night in the US capital, little more than a year after Trump was threatening to wipe the totalitarian state off the map.

Under light snow, Kim and his entourage were seen exiting a motorcade and without comment entering a fashionable hotel in the lively Dupont Circle neighborhood, where he is expected to meet Friday with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

An American source, who could not be identified as the schedule has not been announced, said Pompeo would invite Kim to an early lunch before the two likely head together to the White House, a short drive away.

Neither side has publicly announced the visit, with the United States treading cautiously after Kim Yong Chol abruptly canceled his last planned talks with Pompeo which were set for early November in New York.

But Trump has voiced optimism after receiving what he called a warm New Year's letter from Kim Jong Un and has opined that the two leaders are "in love."

Trump has repeatedly voiced eagerness to see Kim Jong Un again after their landmark June summit in Singapore, the first meeting ever between sitting leaders from the two countries that never formally ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

Tensions began to abate a year ago with the encouragement of South Korea's dovish government. Trump has repeatedly hailed his diplomacy as a triumph, recently saying there would have been "a nice big fat war in Asia" if it were not for him.

He has said to expect an announcement soon about the second summit, with diplomats seeing Vietnam and Thailand as possible venues.

For Trump, the made-for-television summitry with the young and elusive North Korean leader also offers a welcome respite from the steady negative headlines at home.

Special counsel Robert Mueller is probing whether Trump's presidential campaign colluded with Russia, and his insistence that Congress fund a wall on the Mexican border has shuttered the US government for nearly a month.

For Kim, the stakes are more existential as he seeks guarantees of the survival of his regime.

Kim, backed by ally China as well as South Korea, is also hoping for an easing of international sanctions, but the United States insists on maintaining maximum pressure until Pyongyang moves forward on giving up its nuclear weapons.

In Singapore, Kim promised his "unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula."

EA/SI

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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