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North’s envoy to U.S. heads to Hanoi for talks

Feb 20,2019
North Korea’s envoy to the United States arrived in Beijing Tuesday, apparently on his way to Hanoi, Vietnam, for talks on the agenda for the upcoming summit between the North’s leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump.

Kim Hyok-chol, special representative for U.S. affairs at the State Affairs Commission, is expected to visit the Vietnamese capital to meet with his U.S. counterpart, Stephen Biegun, to nail down the details of what will be discussed in the second meeting between U.S. President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Hanoi on Feb. 27-28.

Alex Wong, the U.S. deputy assistant secretary of state for North Korea, is also headed to Hanoi. Biegun plans to depart from Washington later this week, a diplomatic source said.

Wong was a member of the U.S. delegation, led by Biegun, to Pyongyang early this month.

Shortly after Biegun’s negotiations with Kim Hyok-chol at that time, Trump announced Hanoi would host his talks with the North’s leader.

Another team of senior North Korean officials, headed by Kim Chang-son, is also on a visit to Hanoi to check and discuss protocol and logistical issues. Kim, chief secretary of North Korea’s State Affairs Commission, is known as the de facto chief of staff to the communist nation’s leader.

He was in charge of the affairs for the Singapore summit in June last year between the two nations’ leaders.