It will be met with derision and disbelief no doubt, but it would appear North Korea is, in fact, still interested in meeting with the United States in the now-infamous summit that President Donald Trump walked away from with a Dear John letter last week.
Apparently, that was the right move to get the North Koreans’ attention because Tuesday morning saw Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the ruling Workers’ Party’s Central Committee and some say Kim Jong Un’s right-hand man, fly to New York to have a summit about the future of the summit.
He is scheduled to arrive at John F. Kennedy International Airport shortly after 2 p.m. Wednesday, reports The Washington Post.
And he’s not just anybody. Kim Yong Chol is an exceedingly powerful figure in his own right, has the resume of a Communist Party faithful, and has built a career and reputation as an elite intelligence operative for North Korea. More from The Post:
Kim Yong Chol was directly sanctioned by the Treasury Department for his involvement in North Korea’s nuclear program and illicit activities while he served as director of intelligence, so the United States would have had to grant a waiver to allow him to enter the country.
He now serves as head of the United Front Department, the arm of the ruling Workers’ Party that handles relations with South Korea. In this role, he traveled to the South in February during the Winter Olympics, which provided the springboard for the current diplomatic frenzy, and was prominent during an inter-Korean summit on April 27.
He is widely believed to have masterminded the attack on a South Korean naval corvette, the Cheonan, in 2010, leading to the deaths of 46 sailors.
Trump indicated Thursday he believes the arrival of Kim Yong Chol is an indication that his letter to Kim Jong Un pulling out of the summit struck the right tone. It does, at least superficially, appear to have caused the North Koreans to rethink their public remarks as the two nations try to plan a meeting.
We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea. Meetings are currently taking place concerning Summit, and more. Kim Young Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to New York. Solid response to my letter, thank you!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 29, 2018
No word yet from traditional media outlets about how this meeting in New York is actually a terrible failure on the part of the Trump administration.