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Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov meets Kim Jong

31 May 2018

The former spy chief is a trusted adviser to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, playing a pivotal role in preparations for a historic summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump.

"There will be many challenges that need to be overcome" before North Korea's Kim Jong-un would commit to the USA demand for "complete, verifiable and irreversible" denuclearization, said Cho Myoung-gyon, Seoul's unification minister.

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.

On Wednesday night, Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of North Korea's ruling Workers' Party, met with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"The problem is that North Korea entered into negotiations twice now where that was the goal but never really meant to accomplish that goal".

Russia's Foreign Ministry says that Lavrov spoke to Pompeo by phone on Wednesday, the first day of the American's talks with Kim Yong Chol, North Korea's former military intelligence chief.

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"I highly value the fact that Putin's administration strictly opposes the US' dominance", Kim said, according to Russia's state-run Tass agency.

Halting or suspending many of these will likely take less than a year, the authors estimate, but eliminating or setting limits on them will take six to 10 years.

Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov pose for a photo during a meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea, Thursday, May 31, 2018.

Early Tuesday the president tweeted that he had received a "solid response" from representatives of North Korea following his letter cancelling the June summit.

"Since the president's May 24 letter to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the North Koreans have been engaging", Sanders said.

Trump responded that talks regarding the summit scheduled to take place in Singapore on June 12 were "going very, very well".

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North Korea's mission to the United Nations in NY is its sole diplomatic presence in the U.S. That suggests Kim Yong-chol might have chosen to first go to NY because it would make it easier for him to communicate with officials in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital.

He invited Secretary of State Madeleine Albright to Pyongyang, and she made a return visit later that month. Relations turned sour again after George W. Bush took office in early 2001 with a tough policy on the North. Pompeo and the North Korean official dined together. (Supplied) Kim Jong Un has complained to Russian Federation about complained about "U.S. hegemonism".

When asked whether a special waiver was needed for Kim to visit New York, Nauert replied, "Whatever was necessary was, in fact, done".

Pompeo has been an advocate for a Trump-Kim meeting, convinced after his two encounters with the North Korean leader that the regime was genuinely ready to consider dismantling its nuclear program.

Kim and Pompeo shake hands before dinner in NY.

North Korea's Kim Yong-chol walks into a hotel in NY on Wednesday.

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Despite a dearth of details from the State Department on Pompeo's schedule and goals this week, there are weighty issues to sort through. "It will not be easy to narrow the gap and find common ground, but I think it would not be impossible". One of Kim's top lieutenants, former intelligence chief Kim Yong Chol, is now in NY to discuss with United States officials the agenda for the summit planned in Singapore on or around June 12.

Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov meets Kim Jong