New York, May 31: United States secretary of state Mike Pompeo and a top North Korean official met in New York on Wednesday over a beef dinner to try to salvage next month’s summit between the North Korean and US leaders.
Kim Yong Chol, considered the right-hand man of leader Kim Jong Un, flew in on an Air China flight from Beijing, becoming the most senior North Korean official to visit the United States in 18 years.
Pyongyang’s envoy joined Pompeo at the apartment of a US diplomat on Manhattan’s East side for the evening meal that lasted about an hour and a half. Two more meetings are scheduled for Thursday.
Asked about the working dinner, Pompeo told reporters afterwards: “It was great,” adding that they had enjoyed a meal of “American beef.”
It was the third meeting between the two officials who are working to finalize planning for a June 12 summit designed to end a nuclear standoff that once threatened to plunge Korea back into war.
“They are meeting to see what needs to be done in the two weeks that remain,” a senior US official said.
The United States wants North Korea to agree to “complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula.
US and North Korean envoys have also been meeting in Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, and an American “pre-advance” team is in Singapore to make logistical arrangements for the rapidly planned meeting. (AFP)