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Seoul hopes for progress in nuclear talks as N.K. envoy arrives in Washington

All News 14:05 January 18, 2019

SEOUL, Jan. 18 (Yonhap) -- The unification ministry said Friday it hopes the United States and North Korea will carry out their summit deal on denuclearization as early as possible, as a top envoy from Pyongyang arrived in Washington for talks to set up a second summit of their leaders.

Kim Yong-chol, a senior North Korean official, arrived in Washington, D.C. on Thursday apparently for talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on a second meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

"Since the two leaders promised to work for the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula last June, we hope their agreement will be materialized at an early date," Lee Eugene, the ministry's deputy spokesperson, said when requested to comment on Kim's Washington visit.

The U.S. and the North have not confirmed the North Korean official's expected meeting with Pompeo or Trump, but there have been media reports that Trump could soon announce the venue and date of his envisioned summit with the North Korean leader after meeting with the envoy.

Trump and Kim held their first historic summit in Singapore in June and agreed to work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in exchange for security guarantees, but little progress has since been made.

Pyongyang wants sanctions relief in exchange for denuclearization measures it has taken so far, but Washington maintains that such concessions will not be granted until the North completely gives up its nuclear weapons.

North Korean and U.S. officials are spotted leaving an airport near Washington on Jan. 17, 2019, about an hour after Kim Yong-chol, the North's chief negotiator with the United States, arrived. Kim was expected to meet U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for talks on arranging a second North Korea-U.S. summit. Third from left is Stephen Biegun, U.S. special representative on North Korea policy, who greeted Kim. (Yonhap)


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