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US envoy in North Korea for nuclear talks

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Seoul, Feb 6 (IANS) The US envoy for North Korea arrived in Pyongyang on Wednesday for talks with his North Korean counterpart Kim Hyok-chol, paving the way for a second leadership summit.

US Special Representative Stephen Biegun arrived in the North Korean capital from Seoul just as US President Donald Trump announced that he will meet North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Vietnam on February 27 and 28, Yonhap news agency reported.

Biegun took a plane to Pyongyang from the US Air Base in Osan, south of Seoul, around 9 a.m., and arrived at the Sunan International Airport in North Korea at 10 a.m.

In Seoul, Biegun held talks with officials and said he wanted to achieve some "concrete deliverables".

The US State Department said that Biegun and Kim Hyok-chol will prepare for the second summit between Trump and Kim and will touch on issues regarding denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Biegun’s visit came as a UN report warned that North Korea was committing "massive" breaches of sanctions and continuing its weapons programme, according to the BBC.

The State Department said Biegun’s visit will "advance further progress on the commitments the President and Kim made in Singapore".

Trump and Kim earlier met in June 2018 generating significant coverage and optimism, but there were no concrete developments.

The US wants North Korea to make a full declaration of all its nuclear weapons facilities and commit to destroying them, under international supervision — something Pyongyang has never said it will do.