Senior Kim Jong Un aide to meet Mike Pompeo in US, sources say

Kim Yong Chol (above) is  a top aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Kim Yong Chol (above) is a top aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

WASHINGTON (BLOOMBERG) - A senior North Korean official overseeing nuclear talks will meet Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in the US later this week, according to two people familiar with the matter, a signal that a second summit between the two countries' leaders could happen soon.

Kim Yong Chol, a top aide to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, will meet Pompeo for a day of talks on Friday (Jan 18), said the people, who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations.

One of the people said the meeting will take place in Washington, opening up the possibility of a White House visit.

An earlier round of talks between the officials set for November had been cancelled, with the two sides unable to see eye-to-eye on the path forward.

That Pompeo and Kim will meet suggests that talks between the US and North Korea, which had stalled in the months since President Donald Trump and Kim held a summit in June, may be gaining new momentum.

A crucial stumbling block has been North Korea's insistence that it get relief from crippling economic sanctions as it takes steps toward giving up its nuclear weapons.

The US has demanded the sanctions stay in place until Pyongyang's nuclear programme is fully dismantled.

Pompeo and other officials have said repeatedly there would be a second summit, but refused to say when it would happen.

In an interview with CBS' Face The Nation that aired Jan 13, Pompeo said the two sides were "working out the details."