North Korea holding onto its nukes, open to opening hamburger chain

U.S. President Donald Trump left meets with South Korean President Moon Jae In in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington as national security adviser John Bolton right watches

The Associated Press

Since then, Trump has suggested the meeting could be back on. She was referring to talks over the weekend between US and North Korean officials in the demilitarized zone dividing the two Koreas and a White House logistics team's discussions with North Korean counterparts in Singapore.

And on Tuesday, it was revealed that a top North Korean official widely known as leader Kim Jong Un's right-hand man had arrived in Beijing, en route to the United States for a meeting with top US officials.

President Donald Trump said Sunday a US team was in North Korea to plan a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, raising expectations that the on-off-on meeting would indeed take place.

DETROW: Well, this is the latest indication that the summit might be inching back toward more on than off. President Trump confirmed this this morning, saying this high-ranking North Korean official is on his way to NY.

The US, along with the United Nations, has imposed numerous large-scale sanctions on North Korea, cutting off much of its foreign income.

Choe Kang Il, a North Korean foreign ministry official involved with North America issues, was also spotted at Beijing Capital International Airport, according to Yonhap.

"The United States continues to actively prepare for President Trump's expected summit with leader Kim in Singapore", she said in a statement Tuesday. "Kim Yong Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to New York", Trump wrote on Twitter Tuesday.

U.S. Ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim leaves a hotel in Seoul on Tuesday. He also said he told the U.S. president that the issue must be resolved. So no one knows if and when a summit will take place.

"We absolutely oppose a visit to the South by Kim Yong-chol, the main culprit of the Cheonan's sinking", said Kim Sung-tae, floor leader of the opposition Liberty Korea Party. Kim is also a former intelligence chief for the North.

The talks indicate that planning for the unprecedented summit on curbing Pyongyang's nuclear weapons program, initially scheduled for June 12, is moving ahead after Mr Trump called it off last week in a letter to the North's leader, Kim Jong-un.

Kim Yong Chol served in the military police in the demilitarized zone on the border of the two Koreas. There's also speculation that American officials are trying to persuade the North Koreans to export a certain number of their nuclear warheads overseas at an early stage as proof of their commitment to denuclearize. The administration would do well to listen to three former national security officials who urge us to get away from the all-or-nothing Trumpian approach, which devolves into a binary choice between complete denuclearization or war.

Still, with only a few weeks left until the scheduled summit, such talks are unlikely to reconcile the differing positions over Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal, he said.

President Trump will meet with Japanese PM Abe June 7 at the White House, Press Secretary Sanders said. American officials are now in North Korea to meet their counterparts in the truce village of Panmunjom on demilitarized land near the South Korean border.

Talks of reviving the planned summit seem back on track, with United States officials meeting North Korean counterparts in the DMZ this week.

Trump and Kim Jong Un were set to meet June 12 in Singapore, but Trump announced last week that he was pulling out. Kim is close to North Korea's leader, and that's important, says a former US envoy, Joseph DeTrani. It will be the most high-level contact between the two countries in the United States since Jo Myong Rok, a marshal, met President Bill Clinton at the White House in 2000.

Separately, Moon said on Monday there could be more impromptu talks with North Korea including summits between pre-arranged dialogue, Reuters quoted him as saying.

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