Kim Yong Chol, who was previously blacklisted by the USA because of his role in his country's military establishment, is expected to hand deliver a letter from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to Trump.
The Trump administration pushed ahead with hopes for a summit soon with Kim Jong Un, the North Korean leader, after talks Thursday with envoys from Pyongyang and the announcement of a meeting Friday between the country's top nuclear negotiator and President Trump.
While Mr. Trump is known to approach encounters with foreign leaders in a casual manner or to disregard formal protocol, diplomats who have planned previous meetings with North Korean officials say they are highly status conscious and will pay attention to details such as which side of the table Mr. Kim is seated.
He said the letter from Mr. Kim, hand-delivered by his right-hand man Kim Yong-chol, was "very nice" and "very interesting", without immediately disclosing its contents.
Yet he also said hard work remains including hurdles that may appear to be insurmountable as negotiations progress on the United States demand for North Korea's complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation. Trump's "maximum pressure" campaign ratcheting up sanctions and pressure to push North Korea to the negotiating table resonates with them.
"We talked about nearly everything". "We're going to start a process". That being the case, why did Kim Jong Un propose a meeting with President Trump in the first place? Steak, corn, and cheese on the menu."US officials have been tight-lipped about the talks, but one senior figure said: "They are meeting to see what needs to be done in the two weeks that remain".
"Kim would begin by praising Trump's leadership and his "bold decision" to build up the summit", said Koh, who is also a policy adviser to the South Korean president.
"We've got to know their people very well", he added.
PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP: We're not going to go in and sign something on June 12, and we never were. In recent months he met both Chinese president Xi Jinping and South Korean president Moon Jae-in in a flurry of diplomacy culminating in a summit with Donald Trump in Singapore on 12 June.
North Korea has faced years of economic sanctions over its nuclear and missile programmes since it conducted its first nuclear test in 2006.The Trump administration wants the North to "denuclearize", meaning to get rid of its nuclear arsenal, in return for relief from economic sanctions. And he's come to believe the North Koreans really are serious about surrendering their nuclear weapons. General Kim Yong-Chol landed in the United States the mid-afternoon of Wednesday on board an Air China flight from the Chinese capital of Beijing.
Three teams of officials in the U.S., Singapore, and the Korean demilitarized zone have been meeting this week on preparations for the summit.
The two Koreas agreed at a high-level meeting on Friday to hold talks this month on military issues and reunions of families divided by the 1950-53 Korean War, they said in a statement.
Kim Yong-chol is a close aide of Kim Jong-un and is vice chairman of the ruling Workers Party's central committee.