North Korea’s lead denuclearization negotiator arrived in Washington Thursday for talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Reuters reports, with the possibility of also meeting with President Donald Trump.
Trump and Kim met in Singapore in June, the first ever conference between sitting leaders of the U.S. and North Korea. They signed a vague framework pledging to work toward the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” but little headway has been made since on curtailing North Korea’s weapons programs.
Kim Yong Chol’s visit could mark a minor breakthrough in the diplomatic impasse. The North Korean envoy last visited the U.S. in June, ahead of the first summit. Pompeo had planned to travel to Pyongyang in November, but that mission was scrapped after Trump insisted that North Korea had not made “sufficient progress” toward denuclearization. The visit this week also comes as Trump announced a new missile defense strategy Wednesday that identified North Korea as an ongoing military threat.
But Kim Jong Un signaled optimism for the stalled talks in his annual New Year’s address earlier this month, reiterating his willingness to meet Trump again and predicting that relations between the two adversaries could “advance at a fast and excellent pace.”
More Must-Read Stories From TIME
- How an Online Pharmacy Sold Millions Worth Of Dubious COVID-19 Drugs — While Patients Paid the Price
- Why Literally Millions of Americans Are Quitting Their Jobs
- Meet the Women Participating in the Study That Could Change Future of Breast Cancer
- Inside the Battle for the Hearts and Minds of Tomorrow's Business Leaders
- An Innovative Washington Law Aims to Get Foreign-Trained Doctors Back in Hospitals
- Why the Ex-Husband of a Missing Chinese Billionaire Is Risking All to Tell Their Story
- Timothée Chalamet Wants You to Wear Your Heart on Your Sleeve