High-level U.S.-North Korea nuclear talks get underway in NY

South Korean war hero Choi Deuk-soo

South Korean war hero Choi Deuk-soo knows first-hand what is at stake should US-North Korean peace talks fail

Kim Yong Chol, center, former North Korean military intelligence chief and one of Kim Jong Un's closest aides, arrives to have dinner with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, May 30, 2018, in NY.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un had been scheduled to hold an unprecedented summit in Singapore on June 12.

With just two more weeks to the planned date for a summit between US President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, United States Department of State spokesperson Heather Ann Nauert made sure to express gratitude to the very hosts of the historic meeting.

Pompeo met with Kim Yong Chol, one of the North Korean leader's closest aides, at the apartment residence of the US deputy ambassador to the United Nations in NY.

Afterward, Pompeo said the dinner was "great" and noted they ate "American beef".

Pompeo and Kim's high-level discussions come as a US delegation extended its stay in South Korea "for at least another day", according to a source familiar with US-North Korean relations.

"He is probably one of the most up-to-date North Korean officials about what North Korea's requirements are for the summit", said Catherine Dill, a senior research associate at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey in Calilfornia.

In addition, a top nuclear arms expert predicted that North Korea's extensive nuclear weapons systems and facilities could take as long as 15 years to dismantle.

It will be the third meeting between Pompeo, who headed the Central Intelligence Agency before becoming secretary of state, and Kim Yong Chol since April.

After Moon publicly stated that Kim had reaffirmed his commitment to completely denuclearize the Korean peninsula, USA officials headed to Pyongyang to discuss the details of the still tentative summit. A US delegation is meeting with North Korean officials in the demilitarized zone between the North and South to discuss the summit's content.

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U.S. officials meet with North Korean officials.

Lavrov's May 31 visit - his first to North Korea since 2009 - was seen as an attempt by Moscow to ensure its voice is heard in Pyongyang's diplomatic overtures with the United States and South Korea. His portfolio includes North Korea's relationship with China and, lately, the United States.

Mr. Clinton's secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, later visited the North Korean capital, but the negotiating effort eventually collapsed.

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, White House spokesperson Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the White House expects the summit to happen on June 12, and will be ready if that happens.

North Korea denied any involvement in either incident.

Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party's central committee, was allowed into the United States despite being on a US sanctions list, but the State Department has said he would likely need additional approval to travel outside the NY area.

However, Cho added that the engagement of the leaders of the two countries meant "chances are high that common ground can be found".

Kim Yong-chol, considered the right-hand man of leader Kim Jong-un, was the most senior North Korean official to visit the U.S. in 18 years.

Asked what the regime would have to do for the summit to go ahead, a senior state department official said: "Between now and if we're going to have a summit, they're going to have to make clear what they're willing to do".

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