UN Gives Green Light for North Koreans to Travel to Vietnam

In this undated image from video distributed on Tuesday, Jan. 1, 2019, by North Korean broadcaster KRT, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un delivers a speech in North Korea. Photo: KRT via Associated Press

UNITED NATIONS — The Security Council committee monitoring sanctions against North Korea has given a green light to Kim Jong Un’s delegation to travel to Vietnam next week for talks with U.S. President Donald Trump on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, U.N. diplomats said Wednesday.

The Vietnamese government requested an exemption from sanctions for the entire delegation to travel to Hanoi and there was no objection by any of the 15 council nations, the council diplomats said, speaking on condition of anonymity because consultations were private.

The exemption covers anyone in the delegation who is on the U.N. sanctions blacklist and therefore is banned from traveling and subject to an asset freeze. It will also allow all delegation members to take home luxury goods whose import to North Korea is banned by the council.

The sanctions committee granted the same exemptions for the North Korean leader’s delegation ahead of Kim’s first meeting with Trump in Singapore in June.

The sanctions committee can grant exemptions on a case-by-case basis for any reason consistent with the objectives of relevant Security Council resolutions. One objective is peacefully resolving the North Korea nuclear issue.

At the Singapore summit, Kim pledged to work toward the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula, without providing a clear timetable or roadmap on abandoning North Korea’s nuclear weapons. U.S.-led diplomacy aimed at making progress on Kim’s pledge, in return for unspecified concessions, has since made little headway.

Trump said Tuesday that he wants to see North Korea eventually give up its nuclear weapons program, but he says he is not in any rush because relations between the two countries are good.

He said the Hanoi summit on Feb. 27-28 will be “very exciting” but gave no details of what he hopes to achieve.

Story: Edith M. Lederer