North Korea’s Top Party Official Kim Yong-chol Heads To China, Then To U.S….

According to Yonhap News North Korea’s vice chairman of the Central Committee, Kim Yong-chol, is traveling to Beijing China for an operational briefing -and likely instructions- prior to heading to the U.S. where he might possibly be scheduled for a meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The travel plans highlight the influence strategy deployed by China and Chairman Xi Jinping ahead of the tenuously scheduled June 12 summit between the U.S. and North Korea in Singapore.  The U.S. negotiation team is currently in South Korea working on summit details amid discussions between all significant stakeholders.

Watch the U.S. -vs- China trade front closely.  U.S. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross is scheduled to arrive in Beijing on June 2nd to discuss current trade issues.  China is hoping to manipulate their North Korean proxies as trade leverage. Communist Chinese trade negotiators are notorious for their cunning manipulation.

BEIJING, May 29 (Yonhap) — A senior North Korean official arrived in Beijing on Tuesday apparently en route to the United States to hold preparatory talks over a possible summit between the leaders of the two countries.

The trip by Kim Yong-chol, a vice chairman of the Central Committee of the North’s ruling Workers’ Party, came as Washington and Pyongyang are holding working-level talks on the summit agenda and issues related to security and protocol.

The North’s Air Koryo plane carrying the official touched down in Beijing at 10 a.m. (local time), sources said. He has also been found to have booked a ticket on an Air China flight set to depart for New York at 1 p.m. on Wednesday.

Kim was said to have originally reserved a flight set to leave for Washington at 1:25 p.m. on Tuesday, the sources said.

“I understand that Vice Chairman Kim Yong-chol has arrived in Beijing, will hold talks with Chinese officials at the airport and leave for the U.S. tomorrow,” a source said, declining to be named.

Kim, a former military spy chief, is known to be conversant with denuclearization and security issues. He has been heavily criticized in the South for his alleged role in a series of North Korean provocations, including the 2010 torpedo attack that killed 46 South Korean sailors.

It was widely expected that Kim would travel to the U.S. to reciprocate recent visits by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. The two may meet to put final touches on the preparations for the summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, observers said. (read more)

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