N. Korea open talks in New York aimed at salvaging summit

Russia says Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to visit N.Korea on May 31

Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol, a close aide of Kim Jong Un and vice chairman of the ruling Workers' Party's Central Committee, left a 90-minute private dinner at a NY apartment on Wednesday night without providing details about their conversation.

To drive the point home, the State Department released a photo of Pompeo pointing out of the condo's window to the splendour of the NY skyline, as if to say to the two North Koreans by his side that the same kind of wealth could be theirs, too.

It is possible these defiant editorials from North Korean state media are partially directed at China, although obviously, the primary objective is to signal that U.S. President Donald Trump will not be calling all the shots when he and Kim hold their on-again, off-again summit in June. "It was the first official meeting with him face to face", TASS quoted a source in the minister's delegation as saying. "We welcome the summits that already took place between Pyongyang and Seoul as well as planned meetings between North Korean and USA leadership".

On whether Kim had also been approved to travel to a US location other than NY, she said, "additional waivers" or "some sort of an approval" would be needed for that.

Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol, the most senior North Korean to visit the United States in nearly two decades, are expected to start their talks around 9 a.m.at an unoccupied luxury condominium that is the residence of the deputy head of the US mission to the United Nations two short blocks away. "That is how you do these things".

Both sides have laid out what they want. Final week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, testifying earlier than the Senate Overseas Relations Committee, stated for the primary time that he wanted some "negotiating house" on that query. Pompeo tweeted that he had had a "good working dinner" with Kim on Wednesday night of steak, corn and cheese. "The secretary of state is from the heartland and likes American food, and he's hosting someone who's never been to our country", the official said.

Lavrov's trip to Pyongyang comes amid a flurry of diplomatic activity to organize a historic summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. He has served three generations of North Korea's ruling family.

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According to James Jeffrey, who served as deputy national security adviser in the George W. Bush administration, a realistic goal for the USA would be to obtain an agreement from the North that it will dismantle its nuclear weapons and facilities continuously over time by promising the North additional sanctions will not be imposed on the regime. He also expressed Moscow's support for an agreement Kim reached with Moon at a summit last month that focused on measures to ease hostilities and increase exchanges between the two Koreas.

Disputes between Washington and Pyongyang led Trump to announce last Thursday he was canceling the meeting with Kim due to take place in Singapore, only to say the following day that it could still go ahead.

"I think there is a lot of catch up, as in the past these things were usually bottom-up - the groundwork is done ahead of time - but this is all sudden, due to Trump's impulsive nature", said Dan Pinkston, a Seoul-based global relations expert at Troy University.

Halting or suspending many of these will likely take less than a year, the authors estimate, but eliminating or setting limits on them will take six to 10 years.

Japan is weighing high-level, direct talks with North Korea, potentially an August meeting between the two countries' foreign ministers, local media said Wednesday. In October 2000, the head of the North Korean military, Vice Marshal Cho Myong Rok, brought an invitation to Washington for President Bill Clinton to visit Pyongyang to pursue talks on North Korea's nuclear and missile programs.

There were reports earlier on Wednesday that South Korean officials were noting "quite significant" differences between the United States and North Korea over denuclearization. Kim Jong Un seems to be triangulating and splitting the pressure campaign.

After the North's combative statements, there was debate inside the Trump administration about whether it marked a real turn to belligerence or a feint to see how far Kim Jong Un could push the U.S.in the lead-up to the talks.

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