Trump Reveals Blacklisted North Korean General Heading To New York As His Summit With Kim Hangs In The Balance

REUTERS/Ahn Young-joon/Pool

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter
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President Donald Trump tweeted optimistically Tuesday about ongoing negotiations with North Korea ahead of an on-again-off-again summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

“We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea. Meetings are currently taking place concerning Summit, and more,” Trump tweeted Tuesday morning, “Kim [Yong] Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to New York. Solid response to my letter, thank you!”

Kim is blacklisted for his involvement in North Korea’s nuclear program, as well as allegations that he orchestrated at least two fatal attacks on South Korea in 2010. Nonetheless, Kim has played an important role in peace negotiations between North and South Korea, as well as North Korea and the U.S.

The president canceled his summit with Kim, originally scheduled to be held on June 12 in Singapore, last Thursday following a string of critical statements out of Pyonyang. “I was very much looking forward to being there with you. Sadly, based on the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement, I feel it is inappropriate, at this time, to have this long-planned meeting,” Trump wrote in a letter to the North Korean leader. (RELATED: Trump Cancels US-North Korea Summit)

North Korea remained surprisingly calm, informing the president that Pyongyang is ready to talk “at any time.” And, just when the summit appeared dead in the water, the president began signaling that the summit might actually happen. (RELATED: Trump Says US Is Talking To North Korea About Saving The Summit)

U.S. officials met their North Korean counterparts in North Korea over Memorial Day Weekend to discuss summit arrangements. (RELATED: US Officials Cross Into North Korea For Summit Preparations)

Kim Chang Son, essentially Kim Jong Un’s chief of staff, flew to Singapore via Beijing Monday as a team of U.S. government officials departed for Singapore from U.S. Yakota Air Base in Japan.

And, now the blacklisted North Korean official Kim Yong Chol is on his way to the U.S. for further negotiations. The critical question on the table is whether or not North Korea and the U.S. can reach a real consensus on denuclearization.

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