Japan reports to UN N.Korea's suspected smuggling

Russia says Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to visit N.Korea on May 31

This series of talks come after several months of unprecedented worldwide engagement by the isolated North, which started with Winter Olympic participation in South Korea and included a letter offering talks to U.S. President Donald Trump. North Korea suggested that Trump made this decision based on Pyongyang's unwillingness to unilaterally denuclearize, as the DPRK has continuously stressed that it was not interested in unilateral demands from the U.S. on denuclearization and would negotiate with Trump only if he is seeking to improve bilateral relations.

Japan is reportedly seeking foreign ministers talks with North Korea amid working-level talks between Washington and Pyongyang ahead of their potential summit.

Trump said he doesn't know what the letter will say but says he thinks "it'll be very positive".

Lavrov and his North Korean counterpart will discuss bilateral ties, North Korea's nuclear program and other key worldwide problems, the foreign ministry said.

Kim Yong Chol, the former military intelligence chief and one of the North Korean leader's closest aides, landed midafternoon Wednesday on an Air China flight from Beijing.

Initially, the Trump-Kim summit was scheduled June 12 in Singapore, but on May 24, Trump said he was pulling out from the meeting, citing hostility from North Korea.

More news: Hamas announces cease-fire between Israel, Gaza groups

"The order was to make thorough counter-plans against the enemies' pretentious peace strategy while people and cadres are thinking about whether the current situation has already brought peace", he said.

Lavrov was the first Russian official to be received by Kim, Russian news agencies said.

North Korea's flurry of diplomatic activity following a torrid run in nuclear weapons and missile tests in 2017 suggests that Kim Jong Un is eager for sanctions relief to build his economy and the worldwide legitimacy the summit with Trump would provide.

Meanwhile Mr Kim had also sent a personal letter to President Trump in Washington, which is expected to be delivered to the White House tomorrow.

Kim Yong Chol is a vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party's central committee. Trump had mused that Kim's "attitude" had changed after the North Korean leader's surprise visit to China two weeks ago, suggesting China was pushing Kim away from the table.

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