North Korean official heads to NY to plan for summit

U.S. President Trump hosts a joint press conference with Japan's Prime Minister Abe in Palm Beach

U.S. President Trump hosts a joint press conference with Japan's Prime Minister Abe in Palm Beach

Howard X, who is a musician by training and said he still produces Brazilian music sung in Chinese, said his partner known as Dennis Alan impersonates Trump.

Trump also put in place two U.S. Navy carrier battle groups while mounting aggressive demonstrations of U.S. air power to lend credence to his promises of a massive retaliation against North Korea in the event it mounted attacks on either South Korea or America.

Trump appeared to take credit for the recent developments, callingKim Yong Chol's visit, "a solid response to my letter".

People watch a TV screen showing images of US President Donald Trump, left, and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un during a news programme at the Seoul Railway Station in Seoul, South Korea, on Tuesday.

The influential figure is regularly seen at the North Korean leader's side and has attended meetings with the leaders of China and South Korea, and met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang.

The general has always been a right-hand man to North Korea's leader, playing a front-seat role during recent rounds of diplomacy aimed at ending the nuclear stalemate on the Korean peninsula.

Kim Yong Chol was directly sanctioned by the Treasury Department for his involvement in North Korea's nuclear program and illicit activities while he served as director of intelligence, so the United States would have had to grant a waiver to allow him to enter the country. It includes senior officials with the National Security Council and the Pentagon. And then on Tuesday, a top North Korean aide headed to the US for talks.

The announcement comes a day after the White House described the summit as "expected" in a readout of a call between Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

In a commentary in the state newspaper Rodong Sinmun, the government claims that USA military exercises across the Korean peninsula remain the "root cause" of the long-term hostilities rather than the regime's aggressive pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Mr Kim's de facto chief of staff, Kim Chang-son, meanwhile, flew to Singapore, the scheduled site of the meeting, via Beijing late on Monday, Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported.

Since then, North Korea has rejected US demands for it to unilaterally abandon its nuclear weapons program that experts say could threaten the United States.

At the same time, a "pre-advance" U.S. team was in Singapore to meet North Koreans.

Kim stunned the world when he agreed to a June 12 summit meeting in Singapore with Trump that would mark the first-ever such gathering since the communist nation first formed in 1948.

"But, as the president has said", she added, "if it doesn't happen June 12 it could happen thereafter".

Trump announced on Sunday over Twitter that meetings between Americans and North Koreans were being held on the northern side of the inter-Korean truce village of Panmunjom, raising hopes for the resurrection of the summit.

While the United States has long criticized Pyongyang for rights abuses, the meeting in Singapore would be the first opportunity for a sitting US president to raise the issue directly with a North Korean leader.

In March, Kim Jong-un told South Korean envoys who visited Pyongyang that the regime had no reason to have nuclear weapons if its security was guaranteed.

Their second meeting came after inter-Korean relations had chilled in recent weeks, with North Korea canceling a high-level meeting with Seoul over South Korea's participation in a two-week military exercise with the United States that ended last week.

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