But even the suggestion of Assad's outreach to North Korea is certain to ripple through White House efforts to define an agenda for the planned June 12 summit in Singapore between Trump and Kim. But Ri and the two other generals who reportedly were promoted to top positions - No Kwang Chol and Kim Su Gil - have been seen at major party and military events with the North's leader over the past two years, according to 38 North, a website that closely follows North Korean affairs.
That official said USA negotiators' efforts to press for definitions of immediate, comprehensive, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation by North Korea had run into opposition from the White House.
North Korea has reshuffled its military leadership in advance of next week's summit with President Trump, in a move apparently aimed at neutralising internal opposition to dialogue with the United States.
Asked whether he would discuss human rights issues at the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, Trump gave a vague answer, saying: "Could be".
Ri Yong Gil served as chief of staff from 2013 to 2016 until he reportedly fell from grace for a brief period, the analysts said.
All of the new officials are young than their predecessors, according to Reuters.
The reported changes are being interpreted as a move to tame the military ahead of the scheduled summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump on June 12.
She added that Trump is getting daily briefings on North Korea in the runup to the landmark meeting. Inspections must have complete access to all nuclear related sites and facilities with real time verification of North Korean compliance.
In either of his two recent meetings with Kim in North Korea - one on April 1 as director of the Central Intelligence Agency and the other on May 9 as secretary of state - Pompeo urged Kim to address the abduction issue, according to the sources. "One thing they do is rotate people around, so nobody gets too comfortable", said Tharp. "If he tries to reach a deal with Kim Jong Un just for the sake of reaching a deal, and the agreement fails to live up the principles we've laid out, then he'll have been bested at the negotiating table yet again".
"North Korea will receive relief only when it demonstrates verifiable and irreversible steps to denuclearization", Mattis said during public remarks at a meeting with the South Korean and Japanese defense ministers.
The U.S. delegation to the preparatory talks for the summit have stayed at the hotel.
U.S. officials believe there was some dissension in the military about Kim's approaches to South Korea and the United States.