Trump to meet Kims right-hand man

U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo meets senior North Korean envoy Kim Yong Chol in WashingtonImage copyright

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Kim Yong-chol has emerged as North Korea’s lead negotiator in talks with the US

US President Donald Trump will meet a top North Korean negotiator amid speculation about a possible new summit between the two countries’ leaders.

Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders says the talks at the White House later with Kim Yong-chol will focus on North Korean de-nuclearisation.

He is reportedly carrying a letter from leader Kim Jong-un to Mr Trump.

Little progress has been made on de-nuclearisation since their historic summit in Singapore last June.

Speculation is mounting that a second meeting could be held in Vietnam.

Who is Kim Yong-chol?

Gen Kim, a former spymaster often referred to as Kim Jong-un’s right-hand man, has emerged as North Korea’s lead negotiator in recent talks with the US.

He is a controversial figure, accused of masterminding attacks on South Korean warships during his time as military intelligence chief in 2010.

Arriving in Washington on Thursday, he met Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

In a visit in June, he delivered a letter to Mr Trump ahead of historic talks between both countries.

What could these talks achieve?

It is not clear. The last time Mr Kim went to the US, his letter to Mr Trump appears to have helped get the Singapore summit back on track.

Negotiations between both countries have stalled since then, but this meeting could be what it takes to restart talks.

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Media captionHow is North Korea evading sanctions?

Earlier this month, Mr Trump said that the US and North Korea were negotiating over a location for another summit but US officials have not provided any further details.

The meetings in Washington could finalise plans for the summit, but just as important, analysts say, would be an understanding of what the agenda would be.

In a new year’s speech a few weeks ago, Mr Kim said he was committed to denuclearisation, but warned that he would change course if US sanctions remained.

Both parties signed a pledge in Singapore to denuclearise the Korean peninsula, though it was never clear what this would entail.

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