June 19, 2018

Questions surround outcome of Trump-Kim summit

31 May 2018, 07:21 | Marta Robbins

North Korean refugees hope for better times ahead as unification is on the cards

North Korean refugees hope for better times ahead as unification is on the cards

Senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol met with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in New York, Wednesday, ahead of a potential summit in Singapore between the leaders of the two countries next month.

Pyongyang's envoy joined Pompeo at the apartment of a United States diplomat on Manhattan's East side for the evening meal that lasted about an hour and a half.

Dr Hecker noted that the decontamination and decommissioning of a single plant that handles radioactive materials could take a decade or more.

File image of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and United States president Donald Trump.

The men and two aides went to a high-rise building in east Manhattan, and ate a high-class menu served on State Department crockery in a "working dinner" created to help hash out the two countries' dramatically different ideas of how North Korea should handle its nuclear weapons program.

Moon said Kim reached out to him to arrange the hasty meeting "without any formality", a stunning development given that the Koreas only reopened a defunct hotline between the two nations last month. (AP/AAP) Donald Trump has praised the "very good meetings" in NY.

The official added that before any summit between the two leaders can occur, Pyongyang is "going to have to make clear what they are willing to do" amid demands from Washington that North Korea permanently end its nuclear weapons program.

Trump said he wasn't sure if a deal to nail down a June 12 summit with the North Korean leader was taking shape, but he told reporters that the negotiations "are in good hands", as he boarded Air Force One Thursday morning for Houston.

The Russian foreign minister arrived in Pyongyang on Thursday and held talks with DPRK counterpart Ri Yong Ho before meeting with Kim, according to the MFA. Pompeo and Lavrov spoke by telephone for the first time Wednesday. He is also on the State Affairs Commission, the North Korean government's supreme policymaking organization.

Trade war back on with China?
But the White House said on Tuesday that a final list of imports slated for tariffs will be published by 15 June. Trade Representative's office regarding Chinese trade practices and stealing of U.S. intellectual property.

The topic came up last week in Moscow, when Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Putin.

Thursday's meeting between Kim and Lavrov took place at the Paekhwawon State Guest House in Pyongyang, the Kremlin-run TASS news agency reported quoting a source in the Russian delegation.

Pompeo met with Kim Yong Chol, one of the North Korean leader's closest aides, at the apartment residence of the US deputy ambassador to the United Nations in NY.

The general has played a front-seat role during recent rounds of diplomacy aimed at ending the nuclear stalemate on the Korean peninsula.

Similarly, White House press secretary Sarah Sanders made a thankful shout-out to Singapore as well, confirming that the U.S. delegation has met with their North Korean counterparts here, and will do so again.

Whether Kim Jong Un has accepted the invitation remains unclear.

However, three national security officials say the assessment does lay out a number of incentives, from infrastructure agricultural aid, that the USA and South Korea may offer North Korea in an effort to convince the nation to ditch its nuclear program.

The key task is to settle the agenda. "You break bread with the person on the other side, you try to get to know them", the Senior State department official said. There is no way that UN Security Council sanctions on North Korea will be lifted unless Washington agrees, as it holds a veto.

"We're going to continue to shoot for the June 12th and expect to do that", she added, referring to the original date scheduled for the summit.

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