Donald Trump: US determined to achieve de-nuclearisation of North Korea

09 March 2018, 03:03 | Isaac Mcdaniel

REUTERS The Presidential Blue House YonhapInter-Korean Relations Improving Though Without Progress on Denuclearization

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un greets Chung Eui-yong head of the presidential National Security Office in Pyongyang North Korea

Chung Eui-yong, head of Seoul's National Security Office, will meet top USA officials including National Security Advisor HR McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Yonhap news agency said.

President Moon Jae-in's national security advisor and the director of National Intelligence will be visiting the United States this week to brief the Trump administration about the meeting.

Chosun, without citing anyone, said that conditions for pausing North Korea's ICBM program include the establishment of USA diplomatic relations and suspension of Washington's deployment of strategic military assets in South Korea. Kim, Moon and US President Donald Trump stand on the cusp of a historic moment that could change the fate of the Koreas and east Asia by bringing about a lasting peace. As for those specifics - whether the drills will be smaller or shorter - Seoul's defense ministry hasn't yet said, but an announcement is expected after March 18th, when the Paralympics come to an end.

The official said Chung had already spoken to McMaster on the phone shortly after completing this week's visit to economically and diplomatically isolated North Korea.

North Korea pledged to give up its nuclear programmes in 2005, but carried out its first atomic blast the following year.

Rodong Sinmun regularly publishes incendiary opinion pieces reflective of the government's attitudes, mostly targeting South Korea, Japan, and the United States.

"I think that's been a factor, but the sanctions have been very, very strong, and very biting".

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Proponents of engagement, including Joel Wit, a senior fellow at Washington's U.S. -Korea Institute, said the fact that North Korea was unlikely to agree to a complete freeze of activity should not be an obstacle. He also specified that his country would suspend all missile and nuclear tests while the countries are engaged in talks.

Some of that work can be done on the ground, although a live test will eventually be needed as North Korea has never flown a missile at a trajectory that would simulate a long-range flight, experts say.

The UN panel that is enforcing trade sanctions against North Korea has been hacked, according to a report from the Washington Post.

Rep. Adam Schiff, the House Intelligence Committee's top-ranking Democrat, urged Trump to use diplomacy to test Kim's seriousness about disarming, or to see if he is just seeking to create a wedge between the USA and its South Korean ally.

He added that the pressure on the North could be reduced only by "substantive progress" on denuclearization.

The article does not mention the possibility of denuclearization, though it does appear to serve more towards explaining how North Korea made a decision to pursue its illegal nuclear weapons program rather than insisting that Pyongyang will keep the weapons. The United States has made it clear it doesn't want empty talks with North Korea and that all options, including military measures, are in play until the North actually surrenders its nuclear weapons, believed to number around 30.

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