Trump, North Korean envoy discuss 2nd Trump-Kim summit

Kim will stay overnight in Washington - the first such case for a North Korean official since 2000 - and meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday.

Kim Yong-chol is meeting Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and could hold talks with President Donald Trump at the White House later, U.S. media say.

Kim Yong Chol, a hardline former spy chief, boarded a flight in Beijing for Washington on Thursday and was expected to arrive in the USA capital in the early evening, South Korea's Yonhap news agency said earlier.

But an American source, who could not be identified as the schedule has not been announced, said that Pompeo would welcome Kim on Friday for a meal in Washington before the two were expected to head together to the White House.

Pompeo had planned to meet his North Korean counterpart to discuss a second summit last November, but the meeting was postponed at the last moment.

He will also likely pay a courtesy call on US President Donald Trump and convey to him a letter from Kim Jong-un.

US officials said at the time that North Korea had canceled the talks.

His visit to the United States, where he may meet with Pompeo, comes as plans are underway for a second Trump-Kim summit, possibly in Vietnam.

"Contact was resumed after the North Korean leader delivered a New Year speech, in which he said he was willing to meet Trump at any time, " South Korea's ambassador to the US, Cho Yoon-je, told newsmen recently.

However, some argue that Thursday's Pentagon assessment indicates the U.S. will need to do more than shore up its missile defense in addressing the threat posed by North Korea.

"The United States is going to continue to keep pressure and sanctions on North Korea until we see fully and verified denuclearization", Sanders said "We've had very good steps and good faith from the North Koreans in releasing the hostages and other moves".

Separately, a diplomatic source said envoys from the United States and North Korea were holding talks in Sweden aimed at ending the stand-off between the two countries.

Mr Kim Jong Un's New Year's address, in which he cited joint railway, tourism and manufacturing projects with South Korea, may offer clues into what those measures could entail.

Earlier this month, Trump defended the stuttering progress on North Korea by saying that Pyongyang had stopped missile and bomb testing and if it had not been for his administration "you'd be having a nice big fat war in Asia".

The 2016 version states that North Korea's nuclear weapons, cyberattacks and terrorism pose major threats to South Korea's security and the regime remains an "enemy insofar as they are the agents carrying out these threats".

On Tuesday, ministry spokeswoman Choi Hyun-soo told a news conference that Japanese participants in the working-level talks indicated some understanding when the South Korean side said crew members of the warship felt danger about the MSDF plane flight.

Since that time Trump has insisted that talks with North Korea are yielding progress, pointing to the lack of missile and nuclear tests as evidence that Pyongyang is moving towards denuclearization.

South Korea has been thrust in the role of mediator as it tries to keep the sides at the table and prevent a new spike in tensions.

During that visit, Kim Yong Chol was able to break the impasse between Washington and Pyongyang and help get the first US-North Korea summit back on track.

Asked about a possible high-level meeting this week, a State Department spokesman said: "We have no meetings to announce".