He's said to be behind the 2014 Sony hack, made an appearance at the Pyeongchang Olympics, and is often right next to Kim Jong Un at meetings with global leaders. Now one of North Korea's most high-level officials is on his way to the US, reportedly to attend meetings designed to get the President Trump-Kim Jong Un summit back on track, the BBC reports. Kim Yong Chol, who would be the most senior North Korean official to visit the US since 2000, is believed to be arriving in New York on Wednesday, per the Yonhap News Agency, in what CNN notes would be an indicator that Washington and Pyongyang are trying to get a summit back online after Trump pulled out of the June 12 meeting last week. Kim is an ex-spy chief who was personally sanctioned by the US after the Sony hack and the 2010 torpedoing of a South Korean warship that killed 46 on board.
This development may be part of what the Wall Street Journal calls the "mad dash" to revive the summit, which also included postponing a new round of sanctions against the North, per a US official. Kim Yong Chol's visit would also follow the surprise meeting over the weekend between Kim Jong Un and South Korean leader Moon Jae-in, who apparently discussed the US-North Korea summit. Trump referenced Kim Yong Chol's visit in a tweet early Tuesday: "We have put a great team together for our talks with North Korea. Meetings are currently taking place concerning Summit, and more. Kim Young Chol, the Vice Chairman of North Korea, heading now to New York. Solid response to my letter, thank you!" (Trump is fighting the New York Times over a White House source on the summit.)