Trump to meet with top North Korean official to discuss 'fully verified' denuclearization

Trump to meet with top North Korean official to discuss 'fully verified' denuclearization
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump denies telling Bolton Ukraine aid was tied to investigations Former senior Senate GOP aide says Republicans should call witnesses Title, release date revealed for Bolton memoir MORE will meet with a top North Korean official Friday to discuss progress on Pyongyang’s “final, fully verified denuclearization,” the White House said.

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Trump was scheduled to meet with North Korea’s Kim Yong Chol, who is spearheading negotiations with Washington on denuclearization, at 12:15 p.m. in the Oval Office.

“They will discuss relations between the two countries and continued progress on North Korea’s final, fully verified denuclearization,” White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said in a statement.

Kim Yong Chol arrived in Washington on Thursday night and met with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoHere's how the US can pressure Lebanon's new government tackle corruption Trump questions why NPR exists after Pompeo clashes with reporter Senate Dems to Pompeo: Comments about NPR reporter 'insulting and contemptuous' MORE earlier Friday to continue discussions about denuclearization.

His visit has fueled speculation the two sides could finalize plans for a second summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The Trump administration released no official details on plans for Kim Yong Chol’s meetings with U.S. officials until Friday.

The visit is Kim Yong Chol’s first to the U.S. since June, which came just before the unprecedented first summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un.

Trump for months has expressed a desire to have a second summit with Kim Jong Un even as negotiations have stalled since their first summit.

In his New Year’s address, Kim Jong Un upped the pressure for a potential meeting. While he said he was willing to meet with Trump “at any time,” he warned his country could take a “new path” if the United States does not lift its sanctions.

Trump responded to the address by reiterating that he is ready to meet Kim Jong Un “in the not-too-distant future.”

Trump and Kim Jong Un met in Singapore in June after which the North Korean leader “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” in a document signed by both sides. Trump declared shortly after the summit that the nuclear threat from Pyongyang was “no longer.”

But nuclear talks with North Korea have appeared to stall, and several reports have indicated North Korea has worked to conceal its missile program since.