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View more articles by Hamish Macdonald
Hamish Macdonald is an NK News contributor and has previously worked at The Korea Herald and for the Australia Centre for Independent Journalism in Sydney.
North Korean official Kim Yong Chol traveled to the White House to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday following a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, according to Press Secretary Sarah Sanders.
Kim arrived in the capital on Thursday evening and was welcomed at the airport by Stephen Biegun the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea.
Kim held a meeting with Pompeo on Friday morning, which according to a pool report, was also attended by Biegun, Deputy Assistant Secretary Alex Wong, and Mark Lambert.
White House Press Secretary Sarah Saunders then announced that Kim would be attending a meeting with Trump.
“President Donald J. Trump will meet with Kim Yong Chol, Vice Chairman of the Workers Party of Korea and Chairman of the Korea Asia Pacific Peace Committee, today at 12:15pm in the Oval Office,” she said.
“They will discuss relations between the two countries and continued progress on North Korea’s final, fully verified denuclearization,” she added.
While Pompeo did not comment when posing for pictures after the meeting with Kim and Biegun, State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino did issue a statement.
“Secretary Pompeo and Special Representative Steve Biegun had a good discussion this morning with DPRK Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol on efforts to make progress on the commitments President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un made at their summit in Singapore,” he said.
Kim, vice chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea’s (WPK) Central Committee, is leading a nine-person delegation, which sources told NK News on Thursday includes Choe Kang Il, acting head of the North American department with the foreign ministry, Kim Song Hye, head of strategy at the United Front Department (UFD) of the WPK, and Ambassador Pak Song Il of the DPRK mission to the UN.
It is expected that Kim will deliver a letter for Trump on behalf of leader Kim Jong Un, as part of an effort to break through a recent impasse in negotiations between the two countries, the diplomatic source said. Kim Yong Chol last visited the White House on June 1, 2018.