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(LEAD) N. Korea, U.S. look set for Hanoi talks on summit agenda

All Headlines 11:35 February 19, 2019

(ATTN: UPDATES with N. Korean official's arrival in Beijing)

SEOUL, Feb. 19 (Yonhap) -- North Korea's envoy for the United States arrived in Beijing on Tuesday apparently on his way to Hanoi for talks on the agenda of an upcoming summit between leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Kim Hyok-chol, special representative for U.S. affairs of the State Affairs Commission, is expected to visit the Vietnamese capital to meet with his American counterpart, Stephen Biegun, to nail down the details of what will be discussed in the second meeting between Trump and Kim in Hanoi on Feb. 27-28.

A combined image provided by Yonhap News TV of Kim Hyok-chol (R), North Korea's special representative for U.S. affairs of the State Affairs Commission, and his counterpart Stephen Biegun (Yonhap)

Alex Wong, U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for North Korea, also headed to Hanoi, and Biegun plans to depart from Washington, D.C. later this week, a diplomatic source said.

Wong was a member of the U.S. delegation, led by Biegun, to Pyongyang early this month.

Shortly after Biegun's negotiations with Kim Hyok-chol at that time, Trump announced that Hanoi would host his talks with the North's leader.

Another team of senior North Korean officials, headed by Kim Chang-son, is on a visit to Hanoi as well to check and discuss protocol and logistical issues.

Kim, chief secretary of North Korea's State Affairs Commission, is known as the de facto chief of staff to the communist nation's leader.

He was in charge of the affairs for the Singapore summit in June last year between the leaders of the two sides.


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