Korean official's United States visit reminiscent of 2000 diplomacy

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USA stock futures rose in Asian trading as President Donald Trump appeared to confirm the summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was back on, three days after it was abruptly called off.

Kim Kye Gwan said North Korea had "inwardly highly appreciated" Trump's "bold" decision to meet with Kim Jong Un-indeed, a meeting with a US president had always been a foreign policy goal of the North Korean regime, which saw it as an opportunity to be presented as an equal to a global power on the world stage.

The North Korean envoy landed at Beijing airport on Tuesday and was to meet with Chinese officials before traveling on to the United States on Wednesday, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency.

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. As Kim and Pompeo were meeting in NY, other US teams were meeting with North Korean officials in Singapore and in the heavily fortified Korean Demilitarized Zone.

To reaffirm his commitment to denuclearization and his willingness to meet with Trump, Kim held a surprise second summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on the inter-Korean border last Saturday.

U.S. President Donald Trump is seen at Arlington National Cemetery as part of Memorial Day observance, Arlington, Virginia, U.S., May 28, 2018.

The delegations at Panmunjom - led respectively by Washington's former negotiator on North Korea, Sung Kim, and Pyongyang's Vice Foreign Minister, Choe Son-hui - met on Sunday and Wednesday. It remained unclear whom Kim Yong Chol will meet in the United States. "We two leaders agreed the June 12 North Korea-U.S. summit must be successfully held", he said.

Abe later told reporters that he was briefed on what is going on, regarding the expected talks between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

He continued, "You have the meeting". Media reports said Pompeo could make a third trip to Pyongyang after Kim's US visit.

The right-hand men of Kim Jong-un and President Trump will be meeting soon in NY. He is scheduled to meet Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday, according to US officials familiar with the planning. Since then, North Korea has rejected USA demands for it to unilaterally abandon its nuclear weapons programme.

"We're seeing a positive start to the week just because of that North Korea flip", said Nick Twidale, chief operating officer of Rakuten Securities' Australian unit.

USA and South Korean officials haven't confirmed the details of the pre-summit negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang at the Korean village of Panmunjom, which straddles the border inside the Demilitarized Zone.

Most analysts say it is extremely unlikely that North Korea will surrender its nuclear weapons.

"I understand that Vice Chairman Kim Yong-chol has arrived in Beijing, will hold talks with Chinese officials at the airport and leave for the USA tomorrow", a source told the media outlet on condition of anonymity.

White House counselor Kellyanne Conway said Tuesday morning in an appearance on Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" that the president had "sent over two delegations - one for logistics and one for more diplomatic purposes that are on the ground making the logistic preparations for June 12".

Before he cancelled the summit, Trump did not rule out an incremental approach that would provide incentives along the way to the North.

"We get that done and we can be successful in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, that would be a great thing for North Korea, it would be a great thing for South Korea, it would be great for Japan, it would be great for the world, it would be great for the United States, it would be great for China".

South Korean officials couldn't immediately confirm the report.

KELEMEN: He'll be the highest-level North Korean official to come to the U.S.in 18 years.

North Korea defends its nuclear and missile programs as a deterrent against what it sees as US aggression.

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