Friday, 22 June, 2018

North Korea Pins Diplomacy Hopes On Sanctioned Ex-Spy Chief

North Korea-US summit on track, says Moon, after candid talks with 'friend' Kim Jong-un Kim Jong-un committed to complete denuclearisation, says Moon Jae-in after North-South 'surprise' summit
Gerardo Duncan | 31 May, 2018, 22:08

"We are attempting to make sense of what, precisely, President Trump means", South Korean President Moon Jae-in' spokesperson Kim Eui-kyeom said, according to The Washington Post's Anna Fifield.

The United States has struggled to slow the isolated country's weapons programs, which have become a security priority for Washington given Pyongyang's promise to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the USA mainland.

Japan's United Nations ambassador says "maximum pressure" should be maintained on North Korea until it takes concrete actions toward eliminating its weapons of mass destruction. "Thank you all very much we appreciate it. Congratulations everybody".

A White House team will leave as scheduled for Singapore this weekend to prepare for the possible summit, a White House spokeswoman said on Saturday. "Kim Jong Un agrees with me on this".

He would be the most senior North Korean official to visit the United States in 18 years.

Kim Yong-chol is expected to deliver a direct message from Kim Jong-un to President Trump to reaffirm North Korea's willingness to denuclearize, but experts say the North is not in a rush to fully give up its nuclear weapons.

Trump cited hostile comments from North Korea as the reason he withdrew from the potentially historic summit.

Abe stressed that the global community should be united to solve North Korea's nuclear, missile and abduction issues.

Photos released by South Korea's presidential office showed Moon arriving at the North Korean side of the Panmunjom truce village on Saturday and shaking hands with Kim Jong Un's sister, Kim Yo Jong, before sitting down with the North Korean leader for their summit.

It was the North's hardened position that prompted Trump to cancel a proposed June 12 summit between him and Mr. Kim.

Kim is technically under sanctions from both South Korea and the USA, but both nations have been willing to waive those sanctions for the sake of diplomacy.

Seoul did not confirm reports that the North Korean officials were headed by Kim Chang Son, Kim Jong Un's close associate, and that his American counterpart would likely be White House deputy chief of staff for operations Joe Hagin.

The government of South Korean President Moon Jae-in also may be seeking to meet with the USA president and North Korean leader in Singapore.

But on Saturday as Moon was briefing reporters on his meeting with Kim, Trump suggested the US-North Korea summit could go ahead as originally planned.

But analysts say North Korea will be unwilling to cede its nuclear deterrent unless it is given security guarantees that the United States will not try to topple the regime.

Kim Yong-chol co-ordinated the North Korean leader's two meetings with Mr Pompeo in April and May.

Japan's Kyodo news agency quoted Abe as saying that the two leaders had agreed to cooperate to make the summit between the US president and North Korean leader meaningful.

Moon was accompanied by his spy chief, Suh Hoon, while Kim was joined by Kim Yong Chol, a former military intelligence chief who is now Kim's top official on inter-Korean relations.

"I think Xi took it as a slap in the face when Kim Jong-un unilaterally stopped nuclear testing even as he dropped his insistence on an end to US-South Korean military exercises", says Glaser.

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