What little is known about the man North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has tapped to prepare his summit with U.S. President Donald Trump suggests he's more familiar with defending Pyongyang's nuclear arsenal than giving it up.

Kim Hyok Chol, a career diplomat from an elite North Korean family, made his international debut just a few weeks ago as Pyongyang's new point man for nuclear negotiations. In the run-up to the Feb. 27-28 summit, he has been in talks with U.S. counterpart Stephen Biegun to lay the groundwork for the meeting, taking diplomats by surprise.

To those who know him, Kim Hyok Chol is a skilled rhetorician who has played a crucial role in crafting the joint statement signed by the North Korean leader Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in at their latest summit last year. He also has a connection with Kim Jong Un, serving on the State Affairs Commission, the most powerful governing group chaired by the North Korean leader.