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2nd US-NKorea Summit Focus of Talks    01/18 06:28

   High-level talks aimed at finalizing a second summit between President 
Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are planned for this week in 
Washington, U.S. officials said.

   WASHINGTON (AP) -- High-level talks aimed at finalizing a second summit 
between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un are planned 
for this week in Washington, U.S. officials said.

   Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is expected to meet former North Korean spy 
chief Kim Yong Chol at a Washington hotel on Friday. The meeting will likely be 
followed by a Kim visit to the White House, where he could meet with Trump, 
according to two officials, who were not authorized to discuss the matter 
publicly and spoke Thursday on condition of anonymity.

   Neither the U.S. nor North Korea has announced any meetings, although Kim 
Yong Chol arrived earlier Thursday in Beijing, where he was booked on a flight 
to the U.S., South Korea's Yonhap News Agency reported. A motorcade that 
included the North Korean ambassador's car and a Chinese car with a sign 
reading "state guest" could be seen departing from a VIP area at the airport.

   Trump has spoken several times of having a second summit with Kim early this 
year and has exchanged multiple letters with the North Korean despite little 
tangible progress on a vague denuclearization agreement reached at their first 
meeting in Singapore last June. Since then, several private analysts have 
published reports detailing continuing North Korean development of nuclear and 
missile technology.

   At a conference of U.S. diplomats at the State Department on Wednesday, Vice 
President Mike Pence acknowledged the lack of progress. He called the Trump-Kim 
dialogue "promising" but stressed that "we still await concrete steps by North 
Korea to dismantle the nuclear weapons that threaten our people and our allies 
in the region."

   A planned meeting between Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol in New York last November 
was called off abruptly. U.S. officials said at the time that North Korea had 
canceled the session.

   A White House official, while not confirming plans for Friday's meeting, 
said "a lot of positive things" are happening related to North Korea's 
denuclearization. The official said Trump and Kim Jong Un had established a 
"good relationship" and that U.S.-North Korea conversations were continuing.

   The official, who also spoke on condition of anonymity, said the two sides 
were "working to make progress" on the denuclearization goal and that Trump 
"looks forward to meeting Chairman Kim again at their second summit at a place 
and time yet to be determined."

   The talks had stalled over North Korea's refusal to provide a detailed 
accounting of its nuclear and missile facilities that would be used by 
inspectors to verify any deal to dismantle them. The North has been demanding 
that the U.S. lift harsh sanctions and provide it with security guarantees 
before it takes any steps beyond its initial suspension of nuclear and missile 
tests.

   Kim Jong Un expressed frustration in an annual New Year's address over the 
lack of progress in negotiations. But on a visit to Beijing last week, he said 
North Korea would pursue a second summit "to achieve results that will be 
welcomed by the international community," according to China's official Xinhua 
News Agency.


(KA)

 
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