Senior Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) official Kim Yong Chol is meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over dinner, ahead of planned high-level talks on Thursday.
The talks between Kim and Pompeo are seen as a prelude to a potential summit between DPRK Leader Kim Jong Un and U.S. President Donald Trump.
The two were originally scheduled to meet on June 12 in Singapore, but Trump sent shock waves across the globe last week when he called off the meeting. Hopes were since revived after Trump announced the meeting could still happen, with the U.S. sending a pre-advance for Singapore.
General Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the ruling Workers' Party of Korea (WPK) Central Committee, was spotted arriving in the United States earlier on Wednesday.
He is the highest-ranking DPRK official to have visited the United States since 2000.
Kim Yong Chol is officially banned from traveling to the U.S. – due to sanctions against him for supporting DPRK’s weapons programs – and likely required a waiver to enter the country.
The 72-year-old former intelligence chief has recently become a high-profile diplomatic figure, helping with the inter-Korea talks and appearing with Ivanka Trump at the 2018 Winter Olympics closing ceremony in February.