Friday, 22 June, 2018

Top North Korean officials travel to U.S., Singapore in summit preparations

The US President was speaking as he met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the White House Source 1 NEWS
Charlie Simmons | 01 June, 2018, 17:45

A top North Korean official is on his way to United States for talks about a landmark summit between Kim Jong Un and President Trump, as efforts to. make the meeting happen go into overdrive.

The U.S. officials are led by Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, who formerly was the U.S. ambassador to Seoul and a top negotiator with North Korea in past nuclear talks.

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

"Solid response to my letter, thank you!" tweeted Trump.

"The United States continues to actively prepare for President Trump's expected summit with leader Kim in Singapore", she said in a statement Tuesday. The pair arrived in Beijing on Tuesday, Yonhap, the South Korean news agency, reported.

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 US official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

However, maybe Trump can be persuaded to take a photo op, declare his superiority to previous presidents in managing the North Korea crisis, and modulate his rhetoric both to calm down our South Korean allies and to pull back from a military confrontation that Congress and the American people fear.

The general was also one of the welcoming party for US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recent visit to Pyongyang, and his planned trip to Washington is thought to be a reciprocal gesture.

North Korea has faced years of economic sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs since it conducted its first nuclear test in 2006. While complete denuclearization is rightfully Trump's primary objective for the summit, many have their doubts that the North will dismantle its nuclear arsenal.

In October 2000, then North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, the late dictator father of Kim Jong Un, sent Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok to Washington on a then-unprecedented goodwill mission.

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Sung Kim, the former USA ambassador to South Korea and current ambassador to the Philippines, led that American delegation, an American official told Reuters. The meeting, if it happens, would mark the first time a sitting U.S. president meets with a North Korean leader.

"Kim Jong Un has been anxious for a long time, and his father before him, to meet with the USA president and develop the appearance for internal political purposes that he's the peer of the American president".

That suggests Kim might have chosen to first go to NY because it would make it easier for him to communicate with officials in Pyongyang, North Korea's capital.

White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders also announced that President Donald Trump will host a meeting with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe June 7, a week before the Singapore summit.

North Korea also demanded the United States stop military exercises with South Korea, the North's Rodong Sinmun newspaper said. A US delegation traveled to the country over the weekend to discuss the possible meeting.

US diplomatic officials with expertise in nuclear issues are talking to the Pyongyang team led by Choe Son Hui, vice foreign minister, at Tongilgak, a building inside the North Korean side of Panmunjom.

It has long said it is open to eventually giving up its nuclear arsenal if the United States withdraws its troops from South Korea and ends its "nuclear umbrella" alliance with Seoul.

Since then, North Korea has rejected US demands for it to unilaterally abandon its nuclear weapons program that experts say could threaten the United States.

North Korea denied any involvement in both attacks.

The officials may discuss bridging the gap between Washington and Pyongyang on what a deal on the North's nuclear weapons would look like.

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