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Who’s Kim Yong Chol, the highest North Korean official headed to New York?

WASHINGTON — President Trump confirmed Tuesday high North Korean official is headed to New York for talks making an attempt to salvage a summit between Mr. Trump and North Korean chief Kim Jong Un. That high official is Kim Yong Chol — a former army intelligence chief and a vice chairman of the North Korean ruling occasion’s central committee tasked with inter-Korean relations.

Kim Yong Chol has been deeply concerned within the diplomacy that adopted Kim Jong Un’s sudden outreach to Washington and Seoul earlier this 12 months. He’s amongst a small group of North Korean officers who’ve accompanied Kim Jong Un to all 4 of his summits with international leaders in latest months — twice with South Korean President Moon Jae-in and twice with Chinese language President Xi Jinping. 

He additionally visited South Korea in February to attend the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics initially of Kim Jong Un’s attraction offensive. 

Kim Yong Chol, who’s about 72, is a contentious determine outdoors North Korea. Earlier than taking on the job answerable for relations with South Korea in 2016 he was a four-star military common and a army intelligence chief who is believed to have been behind a slew of provocations, together with two lethal assaults in 2010 that killed 50 South Koreans and an alleged 2014 cyberattack on Sony Photos

Each Seoul and Washington imposed sanctions on him in recent times. 

Whereas in america, South Korean media say Kim Yong Chol will seemingly meet Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who visited Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital — twice lately — to finalize plans for the North Korea-U.S. summit. However it’s not recognized what else he’ll do whereas within the U.S. 

Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea’s ruling Staff’ Get together Central Committee, watches the closing ceremony of the 2018 Winter Olympics at PyeongChang Olympic Stadium on February 25, 2018 in Pyeongchang-gun, South Korea.

Pool/Getty Photos

His go to will observe a latest diplomatic back-and-forth that started when Mr. Trump on Thursday abruptly backed away from the assembly, citing hostile feedback by the North. Mr. Trump then introduced the summit might nonetheless occur in Singapore on June 12, as initially scheduled, after North Korea issued an unusually conciliatory assertion about his cancellation of the summit. 

Subsequently, U.S. and North Korean officers on Sunday started preliminary talks on the Korean border to set the agenda for the summit. The White Home mentioned Tuesday that Mr. Trump “continues to actively put together” for the president’s “anticipated summit” with Kim Jong Un in Singapore. 

Whereas Kim Yong Chol’s journey to america might additional brighten the prospects for the summit, historical past reveals that issues might nonetheless crumble on the final minute even after an change of high-level officers.

© 2018 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This materials is probably not printed, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Related Press contributed to this report.

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