According to the Foreign Ministry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov is going to travel to the North Korean capital to talk about the country’s nuclear program. Another topic will be bilateral cooperation. In a statement on Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry noted: “Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s official visit to the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea will take place on May 31.”
Lavrov is going to meet with his North Korean counterpart, and the two sides will focus on key international problems and Pyongyang’s nuclear program as well. North keeps moving forward in reducing the tensions with the world leaders and their Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho had talks with Lavrov last month. There have been previous attempts to prevent North Korea from advancing their nuclear program and Russia was a part of the five-year dialogue that took place between 2003 and 2008.
Lavrov is going to visit the country before the highly expected summit between two world leaders – Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un. One of the North Korean officials was on his way to the US for the diplomatic preparations for the historic meeting. According to the representatives, the US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will welcome Kim Yong Chol, the right-hand man to the North Korean ruler in New York.
Meanwhile, Trump explained the entire situation on Twitter. He posted that the general was on his way, but he pointed out that Washington assembled a “great team” for the talks, hoping that this would lead closer to the solution for North Korea’s nuclear program. The US President has great expectations from the summit, scheduled for June 12 in Singapore.
“Meetings are currently taking place concerning Summit, and more. Kim Young (sic) Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to New York. Solid response to my letter, thank you!” Trump wrote. In the meantime, Japan put this entire process under scrutiny. They are also an important piece of the puzzle as America’s allies, and Trump will meet Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Washington on June 7. The meeting is confirmed by Sarah Sanders, White House spokesperson.
“Since the president’s May 24 letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the North Koreans have been engaging. The United States continues to actively prepare for President Trump’s expected summit with leader Kim in Singapore,” Sanders noted.
Kim Yong Chol went to the Beijing airport on Wednesday, and he used the restricted VIP entrance, thus avoiding any media. One of Pompeo’s spokespersons said that this would be the third meeting between newly-appointed Secretary of State and Kim Yong Chol. The summit between Trump and Kim was almost canceled when Trump declared “open hostility” from North Korea, but the two leaders cooled down, and the meeting is on again. The talks between the US negotiators and North Koreans commenced on Sunday, and the Americans are led by Washington’s ambassador to the Philippines, Sung Kim. Sanders said: “They plan to have additional meetings this week.”
Kim Yong Chol, the man we have mentioned multiple times, will play a crucial role in the nuclear stalemate on the Korean Peninsula. He was the one sitting close to Trump’s daughter Ivanka during the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics that took place in South Korea. When Kim Jong Un went to China, it was Chol who accompanied him. While he is well-respected in North Korea, he is a notorious persona in South Korea. He was accused of planning out the sinking of the Cheonan navy corvette that killed 46 sailors in 2010.
Another man who was spotted in Singapore during the prep phase was Kim Chang Son, Kim Jong Un’s chief of staff. We know that the topic between the two sides – the Washington and Pyongyang will be denuclearization. But the talks will be time-consuming as Washington wants the process to start as soon as possible, but North Korea may be unwilling to do anything unless they get the guarantee from the US that they will not meddle in the politics and try to use this to topple the regime.