A high-ranking North Korean official met Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York on Thursday night for a dinner in New York, the summit of the two countries on American soil in 18 years, while the Trump government prepared for a summit in Singapore The Isolated Regime
Kim Jong Un, North Korea's former spy chief and a trusted advisor to the country's leader, Kim Jong Un, met Pompeo in a US apartment in New York's East Side two rounds before tomorrow.
A senior State Department official said the talks – along with another series of meetings between US and North Korean officials along the border between South and North Korea, which will take place at the same time – will determine whether Pyongyang is serious enough about the Denuclearization for President Donald Trump to meet Kim in Singapore on June 1
The official, who was asked not to be discussed over private deliberations, told reporters the administration was looking for a "historic" commitment from North Korea and something "that has never been done before". Trump would be willing to stay in Singapore for more than one day, if the results are promising, the official said. The dinner lasted, according to the official, about one and a half hours.
Afterwards, Pompeo said the dinner had been "great" and noticed that they were eating "American Beef". He did not take any further questions. While Pompeo has twice traveled to North Korea in recent weeks, the meetings on Wednesday and Thursday will be the highest-level negotiations between the two sides in the US since 2000 when Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok flew to Washington to meet the then President Bill Clinton. The back and forth reflects how much has changed since March, when Kim Jong Un pointed out that he would be willing to give up his nuclear weapons program and Trump accepted his invitation to a meeting.
The key issue remains what exactly Trump and Kim could agree to during the summit. In a letter to Kim last week, Trump abruptly broke off the meeting and cited the escalating rhetoric from North Korea. Pompeo later said the Americans had only heard "dial tones" as they tried to contact their North Korean counterparts to make preparations.
Within hours, however, Pyongyang indicated a continuing interest in talks, and Trump and his assistants hinted The meeting was back. On Wednesday, talks between the two nations took place on at least three parallel tracks: between Pompeo and Kim in New York; in Singapore, where teams plan logistics for the summit; and along the North Korean-South Korean border.
Despite a lack of details from the State Department about Pompeo's schedule and goals this week, there are weighty issues to be resolved. Pompeo was a proponent of a Trump Kim meeting, convinced after his two meetings with the North Korean leader that the regime was really ready to consider dismantling its nuclear program.
However, after North Korea had agreed to the summit, those intentions were in doubt when Pyongyang refused US security adviser John Bolton's calls to follow the so-called Libya model, which quickly dumped its nuclear weapons before receiving anything in return.
"I can name the different positions between North Korea and the US remains very important," South Korean reunification minister Cho Myoung Gyon said on Thursday, according to South Korean news agency Yonhap. "It will not be easy to close the gap and find a common ground, but I think it would not be impossible."
Nonetheless, Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in confirmed their common view in a surprise meeting earlier this week. The goal is to completely disassemble the North's nuclear, chemical, and biological weapons and ballistic missile programs, a statement said.
The State Department official told reporters that North Korea must make clear what it wants before Trump agrees with the summit. The US is calling for what the government calls "full, verifiable, irreversible denuclearization" or "CVID" from North Korea.
( Updates throughout with remarks by high-level officials of the State Department.) An earlier version corrected the name of the North Korean leader in the second paragraph. )