N Korean official visits Hanoi ahead of Trump-Kim summit
Hanoi, Feb. 16 (IANS): A high-ranking North Korean negotiator travelled to Hanoi on Saturday, less than two weeks before the summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump.
Kim Chang-son, considered de facto head of Kim’s cabinet, arrived at the Hanoi airport around 11 a.m. on a flight from China’s Guangzhou, according to Yonhap news agency.
Trump and Kim are set to meet here on February 27-28 for their second summit after first meeting in Singapore in June 2018.
Kim Chang-son, Chief Secretary of North Korea’s State Affairs Commission, will discuss protocol and practical issues, like accommodation of the North Korean delegation during the summit, the report said.
He had also accompanied Kim Jong-un to the Singapore summit. During that meeting, Pyongyang agreed to work towards the “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean Peninsula but with little clarity on how to achieve that goal.
The Hanoi summit is expected to help push revival of the stagnated talks on denuclearisation of the North Korean regime.
General Robert Abrams, commander of US Forces Korea, earlier this week called the second Trump-Kim meeting a “positive sign of continued dialogue”, but added Pyongyang remained a military threat that Washington must be ready for.
Kim Jong-un is also likely to use the summit to make a state visit to Vietnam, the first by a North Korean leader to the country since its reunification in 1975, despite long-standing bilateral ties.
Earlier this week, Vietnamese Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh was on a three-day visit to Pyongyang, where he met his North Korean counterpart Ri Yong-ho and Ri Su-yong, in-charge of international affairs in the Workers’ Party of Korea, according to official North Korean news agency KCNA.