A high-ranking North Korean official left for New York on Wednesday from Beijing to hold talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Kim Yong Chol — a vice chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers’ Party of Korea — is the highest-ranking official to visit the United States in almost two decades. His arrival at Beijing’s main airport and departure to New York was confirmed by Kyodo News.
Pompeo is scheduled to make a two-day trip to New York through Thursday to meet with the right-hand man of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, according to U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.
The upcoming meeting heightens expectations for a summit between Trump and Kim in Singapore in June.
“The United States continues to actively prepare for President (Donald) Trump’s expected summit with leader Kim in Singapore,” the spokeswoman said during a press briefing on Tuesday.