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Close aide of N. Korean leader arrives in Beijing ahead of 2nd Trump-Kim summit

Politics 20:46 February 15, 2019

BEIJING, Feb. 15 (Yonhap) -- A close aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un arrived in Beijing and may be en route to Hanoi, a source in Beijing said Friday, ahead of the planned second summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim.

A delegation of 12 North Korean officials, led by Kim Chang-son, who is known as the North Korean leader's de facto chief of staff, arrived at Beijing Capital International Airport at around 6:20 p.m. via an Air China plane from Pyongyang.

The North Korean officials were on the list of passengers on board the plane, the source said on condition of anonymity.

Kim, the North Korean official, was also seen at the Beijing airport earlier in the day.

The delegation is expected to arrive in Hanoi over the weekend and have discussions with U.S. officials on the logistical preparations for the planned summit, which will take place on Feb. 27-28.

During their historic first summit in Singapore last year, Trump and Kim agreed on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and charted new relations between Washington and Pyongyang.

But there have been scant signs of progress on how to dismantle the North's nuclear weapons program.

Analysts expect the upcoming summit to focus on dismantling the North's main nuclear complex, while Pyongyang seeks the easing of some sanctions.

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