Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will meet with North Korean representative and former spy chief Kim Yong Chol in Washington on Friday amid speculation over the possibility of a second meeting between President Trump and North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un, a U.S. official told Fox News on Thursday.
It remained unclear whether Chol will bring with him a suggested date and place for a potential summit between the two world leaders, but Fox News has confirmed that Chol and Pompeo will meet on Friday.
Neither the U.S. nor North Korea officially has announced any meetings, although Kim Yong Chol arrived earlier Thursday in Beijing, where he was booked on a flight to the U.S., South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.
A motorcade that included the North Korean ambassador’s car and a Chinese car with a sign reading “state guest” could be seen departing from a VIP area at the airport.
Trump has spoken several times of having a second summit with Kim early this year and has exchanged multiple letters with the North Korean despite little tangible progress on a vague denuclearization agreement reached at their first meeting in Singapore last June. Since then, several private analysts have published reports detailing continuing North Korean development of nuclear and missile technology.
At a conference of U.S. diplomats at the State Department on Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence acknowledged the lack of progress. He called the Trump-Kim dialogue “promising” but stressed that “we still await concrete steps by North Korea to dismantle the nuclear weapons that threaten our people and our allies in the region.”
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A planned meeting between Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol in New York last November was called off abruptly. U.S. officials said at the time that North Korea had canceled the session.
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The talks had stalled over North Korea’s refusal to provide a detailed accounting of its nuclear and missile facilities that would be used by inspectors to verify any deal to dismantle them. The North has been demanding that the U.S. lift harsh sanctions and provide it with security guarantees before it takes any steps beyond its initial suspension of nuclear and missile tests.
Kim Jong Un expressed frustration in an annual New Year’s address over the lack of progress in negotiations. However, on a visit to Beijing last week, he said North Korea would pursue a second summit “to achieve results that will be welcomed by the international community,” according to China’s official Xinhua News Agency.
Meanwhile, Trump announced on Thursday a new, more aggressive space-based missile defense strategy to counter threats from North Korea and Iran and to compete with advanced weapons systems being developed by countries like China and Russia.
The president laid out his administration’s Missile Defense Review — the first compiled since 2010 – during a speech at the Pentagon, where he highlighted the threat the U.S. faces from new missile technologies being developed by foreign nations and the growing importance of weaponizing space.
“The world is changing,” Trump said. “The United States cannot simply make incremental changes…It is not enough to just keep pace with our adversaries.”
Separately this week, in a defiant gesture aimed at the North Korean regime, New York City Councilman Joe Borelli, R-Staten Island, called for the street outside the North Korean Mission to the United Nations to be renamed “Otto Warmbier Way.”
Warmbier went on a foreign-study trip to North Korea and returned home “with severe brain damage and in a non-responsive state” on June 13, 2017. He died six days later.
U.S. officials and his family said he was beaten and tortured while in the regime’s custody for 17 months after he was charged with tearing down a propaganda poster in his hotel.
Fox News’ Eric Shawn and The Associated Press contributed to this report.