Mike Pompeo meets with top North Korean diplomat amid talk of second Trump-Kim summit

January 18, 2019

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is meeting with a top adviser to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at a Washington hotel Friday morning, amid speculation that the meeting will be a precursor to a second summit between President Trump and Mr. Kim.

North Korean spy chief Kim Yong-chol arrived in Washington this week after a stop in Beijing. Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump are both believed to be seeking to put fresh momentum into talks over North Korea’s nuclear and missile programs, which sent tensions soaring in the region in the first year of Mr. Trump’s presidency.

The two sides agreed to a declaration at their historic summit in Singapore in June, with Pyongyang agreeing to “work toward” complete denuclearization of the divided Korean peninsula in exchange for an easing of crippling international economic sanctions, but they have sparred in recent months on the timing and sequence of any deal.

Kim Yong-chol, who abruptly canceled a planned meeting with Mr. Pompeo in November, could meet with President Trump at the White House after his meeting with the secretary of state, officials said.

Special Representative for North Korea Steve Biegun and Special Envoy for North Korea Mark Lambert were among those attending the meeting with the spy chief, according to reporters at the hotel.

News reports say a second Trump-Kim summit would likely occur sometime in February or March in Vietnam.

Update hourly