Donald Trump

Photo by Oliver Contreras/SIPA USA

Trump Confirms North Korean Official Headed To New York

May 29, 2018 - 7:11 am

WASHINGTON (WCBS 880/AP) -- President Donald Trump has confirmed that top North Korean official Kim Yong Chol is heading to New York for talks on an upcoming summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

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

South Korea's Yonhap News said Tuesday it saw the name of Kim Yong Chol on the passengers' list for a flight Tuesday from Beijing to Washington. They later reported that Kim changed his flight to go to New York on Wednesday.

Kim Yong Chol is a former military intelligence chief and now a vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party's central committee tasked with inter-Korean relations.

The visit is reportedly meant to reciprocate for Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s previous trips to North Korea, CBS News White House Correspondent Steven Portnoy reported.

Meanwhile, White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump will meet with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the White House on June 7.

She said Kim Yong Chol will meet with Pompeo later this week.

Sanders said a U.S. delegation is meeting with the North Korean delegation at the DMZ.

Trump withdrew from a planned June 12 Singapore summit with Kim last Thursday citing hostile North Korean comments, but has since said the meeting could still happen. South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with Kim on Saturday in an effort to keep the meeting alive.

Portnoy called Kim Yong Chol’s visit “another sign that the Singapore summit scheduled for two weeks from today is back on track.”

But while things appear to be back on track, there are still some questions.

“What is still out there and an open question is what exactly the United States expects of this meeting. You know, the talk has been denuclearization. Is that still the goal of the United States, and President Trump in particular?” Portnoy said. “And how realistic is that goal?”