In the above photo, Kim Yong Chol and an unidentified aide gaze out at sweeping view of Lower Manhattan, as a smiling Mike Pompeo points out some highlights.
The Trump administration is arguing that if the North Koreans want security, it cannot come from nuclear weapons. Instead, their pitch is that Pyongyang will gain more security by abandoning its nuclear program, allowing it to escape from the yoke of international sanctions and isolation and concentrate on economic prosperity.
To drive the point home, the State Department released a photo of Pompeo pointing out of the condo’s window to the splendor of the New York skyline, as if to say to the two North Koreans by his side that the same kind of wealth could be theirs, too.
“We are talking about a brighter future for North Korea, if it makes a smart choice,” the State Department official said.
White House Deputy Chief of Staff Joe Hagin also met with a North Korean team in Singapore on Wednesday and Thursday. Separately, a U.S. delegation led by U.S. envoy Sung Kim met with North Korean officials Wednesday at the demilitarized zone.
But the primary focus is on Pompeo’s meeting with Kim Yong Chol, who is the vice chairman of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee responsible for South Korean affairs. He is also on the State Affairs Commission, the North Korean government’s supreme policymaking organization. His portfolio includes North Korea’s relationship with China and, lately, the United States.