North Korean official arrives in Beijing en route to US

Ivanka Trump and Kim Yong Chol of the North Korea delegation attend the closing ceremony of the Pyeongchang 2018 Winter Olympics

Wow! Look who beat Trump to Singapore summit

Moon said on Sunday that Kim requested the meeting, only the fourth ever by leaders of the two countries since the Korean War.

Trump appeared to take credit for the recent developments, callingKim Yong Chol's visit, "a solid response to my letter". South Korean media earlier reported that his name was on the passenger list for a fight Wednesday from Beijing to NY. Sung Kim, the former United States ambassador to South Korea who is now ambassador to the Philippines, led that American delegation, a USA official told Reuters.

The announcement seems to be the next step in moving the summit forward, despite the Trump's letter to Kim Jong Un last Thursday telling him it was off. US officials visited North Korea over Memorial Day weekend to speak with their counterparts, a visit that Trump had said was for "making arrangements" for the summit.

Trump announced the meeting with Kim Yong Chol earlier in the day. On Sunday, US negotiators, headed by Washington's ambassador to the Philippines Sung Kim, began meeting North Korean counterparts in the truce village of Panmunjom that divides the two Koreas.

The United States and South Korea blacklisted Kim Yong Chol for supporting the North's nuclear and missile programmes in 2010 and 2016, respectively.

Also on Monday, a U.S. government aircraft carrying a delegation including Joe Hagin, the White House deputy chief of staff for operations, departed from the Yokota air base in Japan en route for Singapore, NHK added.

-North Korea talks there.

Kim Yong Chol's visit to Washington sees the North and the U.S. expand ongoing working-level talks, amid speculation that a previously-canceled DPRK-U.S. summit may still go ahead. The North Korean delegation is led by Kim Chang Son, a top logistics and protocol official, Yonhap said. His visit to the US comes at a time when Washington and Pyongyang are holding talks in Singapore about the agenda of the summit as well as clarifying security and protocol issues.

The North Koreans, after expressing initial enthusiasm about diplomacy with the United States earlier this month, did not show up for a preparatory meeting in Singapore, threatened to use nuclear force, and referred to U.S. Vice President Mike Pence as a "political dummy".

Yonhap said Kim Yong Chol's name was on the passenger list for a flight Wednesday from Beijing to NY. Park was a close associate of late President Kim Dae-jung, under whose administration he played a central role in inter-Korean issues. Kim was seen in the Beijing airport Tuesday by Associated Press Television.

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A major sticking point at the summit is expected to be how to denuclearise the North.

While meetings aimed at salvaging the Trump-Kim summit continued, North Korea and the United States took contrasting actions.

The mission to the United States by Kim Yong Chol, who is in charge of inter-Korean relations and has been a fixture in meetings with South Korean officials - including a summit Saturday with President Moon Jae-in - would further signal that preparations for the U.S.

Pompeo held talks in the North Korean capital with Kim Jong Un, who was accompanied by his spy chief.

Kim 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. Trump wrote in a tweet. Kim is a former American top nuclear envoy and ambassador to South Korea.

It is unclear when or where Trump and Abe will meet before the anticipated Singapore summit. The U.S. team was said to include Allison Hooker, a Korea specialist on the White House National Security Council (NCS), and Randall Schriver, the assistant secretary of defense for East Asian and Pacific security affairs.

"There's a wide gap in opinions between the two sides, because the North thinks it can't give up nuclear weapons first without any guarantees", the source said.

He and his team met Monday with a North Korean team led by Choe Son-hui, a vice foreign minister who has specialized in dealing with the United States, in the Tongilgak building on the northern side of Panmunjom, about the planned summit between their leaders.

The US, in contrast, has reportedly chose to hold off new sanctions against the North indefinitely.

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