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A look into US-NK entourage to Hanoi

From left, North Korea's top official Kim Yong-chol, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun at a hotel in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 18. Yonhap
From left, North Korea's top official Kim Yong-chol, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun at a hotel in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 18. Yonhap

By Kim Bo-eun

Along with agreements to be reached at the summit, attention is also growing over the officials who will accompany leaders of the U.S. and North Korea to Hanoi for the summit to take place Feb. 27 and 28.

Key officials expected to aide U.S. President Donald Trump are Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton and the State Department's Special Representative for North Korea Steve Biegun. Pompeo has led ministerial-level talks with North Korea, the most recent of which was held in Washington last month.

As the point man of denuclearization talks with North Korea, he held multiple meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang. Biegun has engaged in working-level negotiations, the last of which took place in Pyongyang earlier this month. The second round of talks is set to begin in Hanoi soon.

National Security Council Korea Specialist Allison Hooker, Deputy Assistant Secretary for North Korea Alex Wong and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Mark Lambert are set to assist the officials.

Trump's senior advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner may also accompany the president to Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the North Korean leader is set to be assisted by Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party Kim Yong-chol, who has held ministerial-level talks with Pompeo. Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho and Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party and director of the party's International Relations Department Ri Su-yong are likely to be involved, considering that their leader may make a state visit to Vietnam.

Kim Jong-un's sister, alternate member of the Politburo of the Workers' Party Kim Yo-jong, is set to support her brother as she has done in past summits. Chief Secretary of the Secretariat of the State Affairs Commission Kim Chang-son, who is known as the leader's butler, will play a leading role in logistics, security and protocol. He is currently in Hanoi to prepare for the summit.

Special Representative for U.S. Affairs Kim Hyok-chol, who has been negotiating with Biegun, will continue to play his role.

Kim Song-hye, head of the Secretarial Bureau of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, and Pak Chol, chair of the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, are also expected to be part of the entourage. Pak traveled with Kim Yong-chol and Kim Hyok-chol to Washington for a meeting with Trump in January. He is in Hanoi with Kim Chang-son for logistics preparations.

Kim Hyok-chol and Kim Song-hye are set to meet with Biegun in Hanoi to fine-tune details of the summit. They may stay in the city until the summit is held, considering the lack of preparation time.


From left, North Korea's top official Kim Yong-chol, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun at a hotel in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 18. Yonhap
From left, North Korea's top official Kim Yong-chol, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun at a hotel in Washington, D.C., on Jan. 18. Yonhap

By Kim Bo-eun

Along with agreements to be reached at the summit, attention is also growing over the officials who will accompany leaders of the U.S. and North Korea to Hanoi for the summit to take place Feb. 27 and 28.

Key officials expected to aide U.S. President Donald Trump are Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Adviser John Bolton and the State Department's Special Representative for North Korea Steve Biegun. Pompeo has led ministerial-level talks with North Korea, the most recent of which was held in Washington last month.

As the point man of denuclearization talks with North Korea, he held multiple meetings with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Pyongyang. Biegun has engaged in working-level negotiations, the last of which took place in Pyongyang earlier this month. The second round of talks is set to begin in Hanoi soon.

National Security Council Korea Specialist Allison Hooker, Deputy Assistant Secretary for North Korea Alex Wong and Acting Deputy Assistant Secretary for East Asian and Pacific Affairs Mark Lambert are set to assist the officials.

Trump's senior advisers Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner may also accompany the president to Vietnam.

Meanwhile, the North Korean leader is set to be assisted by Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party Kim Yong-chol, who has held ministerial-level talks with Pompeo. Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho and Vice Chairman of the Central Committee of the Workers' Party and director of the party's International Relations Department Ri Su-yong are likely to be involved, considering that their leader may make a state visit to Vietnam.

Kim Jong-un's sister, alternate member of the Politburo of the Workers' Party Kim Yo-jong, is set to support her brother as she has done in past summits. Chief Secretary of the Secretariat of the State Affairs Commission Kim Chang-son, who is known as the leader's butler, will play a leading role in logistics, security and protocol. He is currently in Hanoi to prepare for the summit.

Special Representative for U.S. Affairs Kim Hyok-chol, who has been negotiating with Biegun, will continue to play his role.

Kim Song-hye, head of the Secretarial Bureau of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland, and Pak Chol, chair of the Korea Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, are also expected to be part of the entourage. Pak traveled with Kim Yong-chol and Kim Hyok-chol to Washington for a meeting with Trump in January. He is in Hanoi with Kim Chang-son for logistics preparations.

Kim Hyok-chol and Kim Song-hye are set to meet with Biegun in Hanoi to fine-tune details of the summit. They may stay in the city until the summit is held, considering the lack of preparation time.


Kim Bo-eun bkim@koreatimes.co.kr

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