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World Ex-spy or genteel diplomat? North Korea's choices for nuclear talks with Pompeo

15:36  13 june  2018
15:36  13 june  2018 Source:

Pompeo: N.Korea's Kim told me he was 'prepared to denuclearize'

  Pompeo: N.Korea's Kim told me he was 'prepared to denuclearize' Washington's top diplomat Mike Pompeo said Thursday that Kim Jong Un had personally informed him that North Korea is ready to give up its nuclear arsenal. The secretary of state is the most senior US official to have met the North Korean leader and a key figure in preparations for next week's historic summit.US President Donald Trump is due to meet Kim on June 12 in Singapore for a summit called to press Pyongyang to end its nuclear and long-range missile programs. "He has indicated to me personally that he's prepared to denuclearize. That he understands that the current model doesn't work," Pompeo said.

Leading Monday’ s talks in Singapore were veteran U. S . diplomat Sung Kim and Choi Sun-Hee, the top North Korean diplomat who deals with the United States. At the same time, North Korea sent former spy chief Kim Yong Chol to meet with Pompeo in New York.

North Korea nuclear crisis North Korea . Pompeo and top North Korean official meet over steak dinner in New York. 31 May 2018. Trump says North Korea ’ s ex - spy chief coming to New York.

a man wearing a suit and tie: North Korea's envoy Kim Yong Chol shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during their meeting in New York. © REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo North Korea's envoy Kim Yong Chol shakes hands with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during their meeting in New York. Two of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's closest aides — a former military intelligence chief and the country's foreign minister — are being talked of as the most likely candidates to negotiate with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on denuclearization.

Whether Kim will plump for his hardline former spy chief Kim Yong Chol or genteel career diplomat, Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, could provide a clue on what approach Pyongyang will take at the talks, political analysts and experts on North Korea said.

North Korea: Pompeo says he will likely visit Kim soon

  North Korea: Pompeo says he will likely visit Kim soon US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Monday he expects to meet with Kim Jong Un soon to flesh out details of the North Korean leader's promise of nuclear disarmament. As Washington's top diplomat, Pompeo laid much of the groundwork for last week's historic summit between Kim and President Donald Trump, and is now planning follow-up talks.Addressing business leaders at the Detroit Economic Club, Pompeo said it was "hard to know" if and when the two heads of state would hold another summit to finalize a deal.But more discreet diplomacy is continuing."There's a lot of work between here and there.

Right Choice Club. Get My PERKS. A U. S . ambassador to South Korea during the Obama administration, he led the advance talks with North Korea in the border village of Panmunjom. He' s been a veteran diplomat on the issue of North Korea for over a decade.

Tuesday's meeting in Singapore between Kim and Trump comes after a sharp turn in North Korea ' s diplomacy , from rebuffing proposals for Even after starting a rapid process of weapons development following a nuclear test in January 2016, Pyongyang constantly invited rivals to talks that year.

Kim Jong Un vowed in a joint statement at Tuesday's historic summit in Singapore with U.S. President Donald Trump to work for denuclearization, and Trump promised security guarantees for North Korea in exchange.

They offered few details, and agreed to hold talks "at the earliest possible date" to implement the outcomes of the summit with Pompeo leading the U.S. side. But the statement did not specify his North Korean counterpart by name, saying it would be a "relevant, high-level" official.

That would restrict the possible candidates to a handful of men trusted by Kim within North Korea's highly opaque leadership circle.

Both Kim Yong Chol and Ri accompanied Kim Jong Un to Singapore for the summit and were seated with him at the table during talks that included the two delegations.

Pompeo cancels Senate briefing on North Korea deal

  Pompeo cancels Senate briefing on North Korea deal The abruptly cancelled all-Senate briefing may be rescheduled for next week.WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo abruptly cancelled a planned Wednesday briefing for all U.S. senators on a deal with North Korea that President Donald Trump has hailed as a breakthrough — even while the details remain vague.

A senior North Korean diplomat left for Finland on Sunday for talks with former US and South Korean officials Trump’ s man Pompeo targets Iran deal – and may hurt North Korea talks . North Korea is pursuing its nuclear and missile programmes in defiance of UN Security Council sanctions

The choice by Trump and Kim to start their Singapore summit with out their high advisers or nuclear Main Monday’s talks in Singapore have been veteran U.S. diplomat Sung Kim and North Korea ’ s Choe The North Korean was equally noncommittal about denuclearization — and though Pompeo

Kim Yong Chol's center-stage presence before and during the recent thaw between the two Koreas and Pyongyang and Washington indicate he is one of the most powerful, closest aides of the young leader.

But he has chiefly dealt with inter-Korean relations, rather than nuclear issues, which have mostly been handled by the foreign ministry.

"The absence of the North Korean name in the joint statement, despite the role that Kim Yong Chol has played so far, could mean Kim Jong Un is agonizing over whether he should now charge diplomats to do the job," said Shin Beom-chul, a senior fellow at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul.


Kim Yong Chol, 72, is a four-star general, vice chairman of the Central Committee of the ruling Workers' Party, and director of the United Front Department, which is in charge of inter-Korean ties.

He visited Trump in Washington in late May, and has met Pompeo four times, twice in Pyongyang, once in New York and then during the summit.

Pompeo "very optimistic" day before historic Trump-Kim summit

  Pompeo Secretary of State says tomorrow will bring "clearest indication to date whether Kim Jong Un" shares U.S. vision for denuclearizationThe two leaders are to meet on Tuesday at the luxury Capella Hotel resort on Singapore's Sentosa Island.

The North has faced crippling diplomatic and economic sanctions as it has advanced development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Pompeo held firm to Trump' s position that sanctions will remain in place until North Korea denuclearizes

Trump-Kim talks still not confirmed - but there’s progress, Pompeo says. North Korea ’ s nuclear test site has collapsed and that may be why Kim Jong-un suspended tests. China told ex -CIA officer: ‘We’ll take care of you for life’, say court papers.

"Kim should be the most likely partner of Pompeo, having worked with him before and knowing well about what Kim Jong Un wants," said Cheong Seong-chang, a North Korea leadership expert at the Sejong Institute south of Seoul.

Kim Yong Chol has spent nearly 30 years in the intelligence community, including a stint as chief of the Reconnaissance General Bureau, North Korea's main spy agency.

The United States and South Korea blacklisted him for supporting the North's weapons programs in 2010 and 2016, respectively.

Seoul accused him of masterminding deadly attacks on a South Korean navy ship and an island in 2010. He was also linked by U.S. intelligence to a devastating cyber attack on Sony Pictures in 2014.

North Korea denied any involvement in any of the incidents.

a group of people standing in a room: Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan meets North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho in Singapore. © REUTERS/File Photo Singapore Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishnan meets North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho in Singapore. A hawkish army commander, he has steered a series of inter-Korean military talks since the late 1980s.

He was "best at pressing and humiliating" his opponents during negotiations, according to a retired South Korean diplomat who met him. In 2014, he "stormed out of the room" during military talks when the South demanded an apology for the 2010 attacks, said former South Korean military officials involved in the meeting.

Pompeo "very optimistic" day before historic Trump-Kim summit

  Pompeo Secretary of State says tomorrow will bring "clearest indication to date whether Kim Jong Un" shares U.S. vision for denuclearizationThe two leaders are to meet on Tuesday at the luxury Capella Hotel resort on Singapore's Sentosa Island.

What Trump's pick for top diplomat has said about Russia, North Korea , Iran, Syria, China — and Pompeo became America's spy chief in January 2017. During his 14 months at the CIA, he took a He echoed Trump in criticizing previous administrations for failing to halt North Korea ' s nuclear

Mike Pompeo will probably be a more effective diplomat than Tillerson. He’ll also be more hawkish. He’ s also proven his loyalty to the president time and again since taking the top spy job. That’ s potentially good news for the upcoming talks with North Korea : Having a secretary of state Trump

"He's known as a hard-liner, as much as Pompeo in Washington, but both people are realists who can make a compromise if necessary," Cheong said.


In contrast, Ri Yong Ho is seen as a genteel, soft-spoken career diplomat who is polite and humorous but can also be tough with sharp debating skills.

He called Trump "President Evil" at the U.N. General Assembly last year, but such rhetoric is usually out of character for him, according to former counterparts and colleagues.

A fluent English speaker, the 62-year-old Ri has held a number of high-level posts dealing with the West, including as envoy to the now defunct six-party talks aimed at dismantling Pyongyang's nuclear programs.

Following a rare party congress in 2016, Ri was appointed foreign minister and promoted to the party's politburo, the opaque, all-powerful party organ where top state affairs are decided. It was the first time in two decades that a career diplomat was named to the politburo, Cheong said.

"It would be reasonable for the foreign ministry that has professional expertise and experiences to take over nuclear talks," said Chun Yung-woo, a former South Korean representative to the six-party talks.

"The summit's joint statement simply heralded the start of working-level negotiations, where all key, complex issues will be discussed, including the timeline of the North's dismantlement, its verification and corresponding U.S. action."

Another potential negotiator is Ri Su Yong, a former foreign minister who is currently responsible for international affairs at the party.

While serving as ambassador to Switzerland, the 78-year-old Ri oversaw the young Kim's European education, which helped him earn the trust of the leader, but he is seen as a long shot compared to the other two.

A senior South Korean official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the candidate chosen could be a factor in the approach to the negotiations, but not in North Korea's position.

"Whoever sits at the negotiating table, any solid, specific decision on denuclearization would be made by Kim Jong Un himself," he said.

Reporting by Hyonhee Shin; additional reporting by Jeongmin Kim; editing by Raju Gopalakrishnan

US seeks to assuage Asian allies after North Korea summit .
The United States and its Asian allies worked to paper over any semblance of disagreement over President Donald Trump's concession that the U.S. would halt military exercises with South Korea, with Trump's top diplomat insisting the president hadn't backed down from his firm line on North Korea's nukes.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, meeting with top South Korean and Japanese diplomats, put a more sober spin on several moves by Trump after his summit with Kim that had fueled unease from Washington to Tokyo and Seoul.

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