Mon, 22 Apr 2019

Washington DC [USA], Jan 19 (ANI): United States President Donald Trump on Friday is expected to meet North Korea's lead negotiator in nuclear talks, Kim Yong Chol at the White House, where they would discuss the issue of Pyongyang's dismantling of the nuclear weapons programme.

According to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders, Trump is scheduled to meet Kim Yong Chol in the Oval Office at around 12:15 pm (local time) to discuss the progress on North Korea's "final and fully verified denuclearisation" and the ties between the two countries, CNN reported.

"They will discuss relations between the two countries and continued progress on North Korea's final, fully verified denuclearisation," Sanders added.

Kim Yong Chol arrived in Washington DC on Thursday, amid speculations that he was in the US to fix a potential second meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

The senior North Korean official met with US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo and Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun to deliberate further on Pyongyang's denuclearisation progress.

Although it was not clear whether the trio discussed denuclearisation and the second Trump-Kim summit, State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino later said that Pompeo and Biegun "had a good discussion" with Kim Yong Chol on efforts to make progress on the commitments made by Trump and Kim at their first meeting in Singapore last June.

"Secretary Pompeo and Special Representative Steve Beigun had a good discussion this morning with DPRK Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol on efforts to make progress on the commitments President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un made at their summit in Singapore," Palladino said.

This is Kim Yong Chol's second visit to the US. In his first visit that took place last June, the top North Korean official visited New York and held talks with Pompeo before travelling to Washington DC, where he met Trump for two hours and handed over a letter from Kim Jong-un to him.

In that visit, Kim Yong Chol managed to break the deadlock between the US and North Korea, leading to the first-ever meeting between Trump and Kim days later.

Kim Jong-un has repeatedly stated that his government is committed to fulfilling its promise of achieving denuclearisation and said the same even during his maiden meeting with Trump in Singapore.

Even though engagements between Washington and Pyongyang reached new heights in 2018 with the unprecedented first meeting between Trump and Kim, the last few months of the year saw a stalemate in relations.

North Korea, on the one hand, has asked for corresponding measures by the US for its efforts towards denuclearisation. The US, on the other hand, has pushed for complete denuclearisation before a relaxation in sanctions.

Also, several media reports had surfaced that North Korea, despite agreeing to work towards achieving "full denuclearisation", was continuing to develop ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. (ANI)

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