Tuesday, 19 June, 2018

'Imperative' to dismantle North Korea's nuclear weapons, say Donald Trump, Shinzo Abe

Kim Jong-un commits to North Korea denuclearization as U.S. delegation arrives President Trump, Kim Jong Un summit needs a plan
Glenn Montgomery | 02 June, 2018, 01:14

Originally scheduled to take place in Singapore on June 12 between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the President last week canceled the meeting, saying that it would be "inappropriate" for the talks to go ahead.

Led by Sung Kim, the USA ambassador to the Philippines and former U.S. ambassador to Seoul, the United States officials first met their counterparts including Choe Son-hui, North Korea's vice foreign minister, on Sunday.

During Moon and Kim's second border meeting Saturday, the two leaders exchanged views on how to prepare for the North's possible summit with Trump.

The US and South Korea previously blacklisted Kim Yong Chol for supporting the North's nuclear and missile programmes in 2010 and 2016, respectively. "Solid response to my letter, thank you!" he tweeted.

General Kim Yong-chol landed at Beijing airport today and will journey on to NY tomorrow after talks with Chinese officials, according to South Korea's Yonhap news agency, which cited diplomatic sources.

A State Department spokeswoman confirmed that delegations from the U.S. and North Korea were still in talks to possibly go ahead with the June 12 meeting, which had been canceled by Trump on Thursday citing "open hostility" from Kim.

Meanwhile, Russia announced Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will visit North Korea on Thursday and hold talks with his counterpart about the situation on the Korean Peninsula.

A team of USA diplomats was seen going through security checks at the military guard point leading to Panmunjeom around 9 a.m.to hold preparatory discussions with North Korean officials for the June 12 summit in Singapore.

Trump's aides will soon assess whether Kim Jong Un is willing to take serious steps before making a final decision on whether to go ahead with the summit, the USA official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

"Since the president's May 24 letter to Kim Jong Un, North Korea has been engaging with the United States", said Heather Nauert, U.S. State Department spokeswoman. Earlier this month, Gen. Kim met with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Pyongyang, hours before North Korea released three American prisoners.

However, as a show of goodwill, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un may open a Western burger franchise in Pyongyang, the NBC said.

Clinton eventually visited North Korea as a former president in 2009 to secure the freedom of two detained American journalists.

But after a magnanimous statement from North Korea that said Kim still hoped to meet Trump "at any time", the summit appears on again.

A former military spy chief, Kim Yong Chol has been a central player in the recent thaw in relations between North Korea and South Korea, as well as the United States.

"We are having very productive talks with North Korea about reinstating the Summit which, if it does happen, will likely remain in Singapore on the same date, June 12th., and, if necessary, will be extended beyond that date", Trump tweeted Friday. Another U.S. delegation was in Singapore to work on logistics.

Kim Yong Chol's visit to the USA seems to suggest both Washington and Pyongyang are determined to see the talks move forward.

The talks are focused on what would be the substance of a potential summit between Trump and Kim - the issue of North Korea's nuclear weapons program.

Kim Yong Chol has been a central player in the recent negotiations between North Korea and South Korea, as well as the United States.

"I think they might have already agreed to complete North Korea's denuclearization in stages within two years".

Moon said on Monday there could be more impromptu talks between the two Koreas in the lead-up to the summit.

The US and the United Nations over the last several years have been able to ban most of North Korea's trade and cut off a large portion its foreign income stream - including getting China to reduce trade.

Gen Kim's alleged role in past events led to protests from conservative forces in South Korea before the Winter Olympics when it emerged he would visit.

North Korea defends its nuclear and missile programs as a deterrent against what it sees as USA aggression.

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