North Korea taken no 'concrete steps' to denuclearize: Vice President Mike Pence

Tokyo accuses a South Korean warship of locking fire-control radar on its maritime patrol aircraft and has released a video clip to back up its claim

Tokyo accuses a South Korean warship of locking fire-control radar on its maritime patrol aircraft and has released a video clip to back up its claim

One of North Korea's top negotiators is on his way to Washington to meet US officials ahead of a possible second summit between Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump.

The meeting, led by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol, would happen tomorrow or Friday, the Chosun Ilbo said, citing an unnamed diplomatic source.

Asked about the prospect of Kim Yong Chol visiting Washington for the second time in less than a year, the U.S. State Department demurred, telling The Japan Times that it did not have any meetings to announce.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to meet with senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol this week, South Korean media and CNN said, citing unnamed sources.

Yonhap and other South Korean media said he was greeted at Dulles airport by Stephen Biegun, the USA special representative for North Korea. After years of nuclear and ballistic missile tests through 2017, North Korea hasn't conducted a similar test for more than a year.

Last year, North Korea "heightened its worldwide influence and it had received a great support, understanding, and fervent welcome from the whole world", KCNA noted.

"South Korea is anxious that the denuclearisation process has stalled and that achievements on the peacemaking side of Moon's North Korea policy may be reversed", he said.

As a result, the much-desired working-level meetings sought by the USA have failed to take off, with Biegun conducting only one visit to the DPRK so far: a short lunch meeting with Pompeo and Kim Jong Un last October.

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But the ministry plans to take a cautious approach, as the issue could undermine not only bilateral ties, but also the two countries' security alliance with the United States.

Trump has repeatedly voiced eagerness to see Kim Jong-un again after their landmark June summit in Singapore, the first meeting ever between sitting leaders from the two countries that never formally ended the 1950-53 Korean War.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, North Korea's Kim Yong-chol, vice-chairman of the ruling Workers' Party Central Committee, left for the United States capital after transferring in Beijing. Yonhap reported that the North Korean representative might pay a "courtesy call" on Trump and hand him another letter from Kim. The North has been demanding that the USA lift harsh sanctions and provide it with security guarantees before it takes any steps beyond its initial suspension of nuclear and missile tests.

This picture taken on April 27, 2018 shows North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) and South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (R) bidding farewell during a closing ceremony of the inter-Korean summit in the truce village of Panmunjom.

The State Department said at the time the meeting was postponed, but rescheduling has dragged on as the two sides are at a stalemate over what comes next: USA sanctions relief or North Korean action.

Trump noted that sanctions against North Korea will remain "in full force and effect" in the meantime, and warned that if anyone else had been elected USA president, "you'd be at war right now".

Communist-ruled Vietnam, which has good relations with both the United States and North Korea, has been widely touted as the most likely venue for a second meeting.

CNN quoted a source familiar with the U.S.

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