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After D.C. trip, N. Korean envoy set to board flight for Pyongyang

Diplomacy 14:04 January 21, 2019

BEIJING, Jan. 21 (Yonhap) -- A top North Korean official arrived at an airport here Monday to leave for Pyongyang following a trip to Washington D.C.

Kim Yong-chol, vice chairman of the ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, and his entourage showed up at the Beijing international airport at around 12:35 p.m.

They got their tickets issued for an Air China flight scheduled to take off at 1:35 p.m.

They landed here on Sunday afternoon after travelling to the U.S. capital.

Kim, Pyongyang's lead negotiator, had talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and met with President Donald Trump during his three-day stay there.

He had been widely expected to return to Pyongyang on Tuesday via a North Korean flagship carrier.

Air Koryo operates flights between Pyongyang and Beijing on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

But he opted for a Chinese-flagged plane departing a day earlier.

"It seems attributable to the urgency of reporting to Kim Jong-un face-to-face," a source here said.

The North Korean leader is slated to hold another summit with Trump late next month, according to the U.S. government. No date or venue has been announced yet.

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