Top NKorean official arrives at Beijing airport on way to NY

Kim Jong-un committed to complete denuclearisation, says Moon Jae-in after North-South 'surprise' summit

Kim Jong-un committed to complete denuclearisation, says Moon Jae-in after North-South 'surprise' summit

He plans to leave for NY from Beijing later Wednesday (local time), according to diplomatic sources in the Chinese capital. That suggests Mr Kim might have chosen to first go to NY because it would make it easier for him to communicate with officials in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital.

USA officials have talked about a comprehensive one-shot deal in which North Korea eliminates its nukes first and receives rewards later.

Mr Moon said he told Mr Kim that Mr Trump has a "firm resolve" to end hostile relations with North Korea and initiate economic cooperation if Kim implements "complete denuclearisation".

Trump's tweet offered praise for the longtime US adversary, and the latest signal that his concerns about the North's stance toward the summit have been allayed.

Mr Trump confirmed that Mr Kim Yong Chol is headed for NY.

White House press secretary Sarah Sanders also said in a statement that Pompeo and the North's official will meet "later this week".

But with only a few weeks left until the scheduled summit, such talks appear unlikely to reconcile the differing positions over Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal, he said.

The working-level discussions are likely to gain traction or even be finalized when Kim Yong-chol, the vice chairman of North Korea's Party Central Committee and right-hand man to Kim Jong-un, meets US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in NY later this week.

Pompeo, Trump's former Central Intelligence Agency chief, has travelled to Pyongyang twice in recent weeks for meetings with Kim Jong Un, and has said there is a "shared understanding" between the two sides about what they hope to achieve in talks.

The meeting was the latest dramatic turn in a week of diplomatic ups and downs surrounding the prospects for an unprecedented summit between the United States and North Korea, and the strongest sign yet that the leaders of the two Koreas are trying to keep the on-again off-again meeting on track.

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In their second meeting in a month, Moon said Kim expressed willingness to cooperate to end confrontation and work toward peace for the sake of a successful summit with Trump.

China's foreign ministry said it had no information to offer on any North Korean officials travelling to the United States via Beijing. But Pyongyang has rejected any "unilateral" dismantlement in an apparent bid to win sanctions relief and security guarantees. While agreeing to halt missile tests and close a nuclear test site, North Korea has not yet agreed to give up its nuclear weapons.

Clearly North Korea diplomacy and the prospects for reviving the canceled Trump-Kim summit remain front and center, as events over the weekend and Tuesday demonstrate.

Pentagon official Randall Schriver was also part of the US team, along with Allison Hooker, a Korea expert on the White House National Security Council, the USA official said.

"We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea", Trump said in a Twitter post.

"They plan to have additional meetings this week", Sanders said. In addition, teams of USA officials have arrived at the Korean demilitarized zone and in Singapore to prepare for the meeting.

The Washington Post, citing a person familiar with the arrangements, said Sung Kim, a former USA ambassador to South Korea and former nuclear negotiator with the North, was leading the preparations on the US side.

US officials cast the on-again, off-again drama as in keeping with Trump's deal-making style, and reflective of the technically still-warring leaders testing each other.

Kim will be the first senior North Korean official to visit the United States in nearly 20 years. He also hosted the USA delegation during Pompeo's two previous visits.

Pompeo and Kim met during the secretary of state's two trips to Pyongyang in April and May.

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