Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in visit Korea's spiritual birthplace as US sets deadline for denuclearisation

Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in visit Korea's spiritual birthplace as US sets deadline for denuclearisationKim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in visited the spiritual birthplace of the Korean nation Thursday for a show of unity after their North-South summit gave new momentum to Pyongyang’s negotiations with Washington. On Wednesday North Korea’s leader agreed to close the Tongchang-ri missile-testing site in the presence of international observers, a move the US welcomed by saying it was ready for immediate talks aimed at denuclearising the North. Pyongyang also said it could dismantle its best-known nuclear facility at Yongbyon, if the US takes “corresponding measures”, as Kim and the South Korean president held their third summit this year. It is an important caveat, but the declaration appeared to break the logjam in nuclear discussions with Washington. President Donald Trump welcomed the move, tweeting that Kim had “agreed to allow Nuclear inspections, subject to final negotiations”, adding: “Very exciting!” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also praised the “important commitments”, saying he invited his North Korean counterpart to meet next week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, and representatives of both sides to meet “at the earliest opportunity” in Vienna, home of the International Atomic Energy Agency. President Moon collects water from Lake Heaven at the bottom of Mount Paektu Credit:  Getty Images AsiaPac Washington was ready to “engage immediately in negotiations” to achieve the North’s denuclearisation by January 2021, Pompeo added – the end of Trump’s first term. The process had stalled after the historic Singapore summit between Trump and Kim in June, when Kim declared his backing for denuclearisation of the peninsula but no details were agreed. Washington and Pyongyang have subsequently sparred over what that means and how it will be achieved, with the Trump administration consistently referring to the denuclearisation of North Korea specifically. For its part, Pyongyang – which wants a formal declaration the 1950-53 Korean War is over – has condemned demands for its unilateral disarmament as “gangster-like”. Experts remain sceptical, pointing out that closing Tongchang-ri, also known as Sohae, would have no impact on the North’s ability to manufacture rockets. Pyongyang has used several other locations for missile launches and has repeatedly said it has no need for further testing. Many also believe that apart from Yongbyon, the North also has covert nuclear facilities. “The North Koreans are offering gestures that mimic disarmament,” arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis tweeted. “They don’t meaningfully constrain North Korea’s nuclear programme.” Their main purpose, he added, was “to appease Trump, so that Moon and Kim can keep their engagement alive”. “This is what an Israel-style deal looks like with North Korea: They pretend to disarm and we pretend to believe it.” Moon and Kim have sought to strengthen the North-South relationship at their Pyongyang summit, agreeing that the North Korean leader will visit Seoul “at an early date”. It would be the first such trip by a North Korean leader since the Korean War ended in an armistice, leaving the peninsula divided by the Demilitarized Zone and technically still in a state of war, and Moon said the historic journey could happen later this year. The two leaders also agreed to open a permanent facility for family reunions, work towards joining up road and rail links, and bid jointly for the 2032 Olympics. At a performance of the North’s spectacular “Mass Games” propaganda display, Moon made an unprecedented address by a South Korean leader to a Northern crowd, telling them that Koreans had lived together for 5,000 years. “I propose we move forward toward the big picture of peace in which the past 70-year-long hostility can be eradicated and we can become one again,” he said, prompting rapturous applause. On Thursday, Moon and Kim, accompanied by their wives, visited Mount Paektu on the Chinese border. Beyond the pomp and pageantry, Moon is keeping delicate denuclearisation talks with North Korea on track The 2,744-metre (9,003-foot) peak is considered sacred to all Koreans as the birthplace of Dangun, the legendary founder of the first Korean kingdom. According to Pyongyang’s narrative, it is also where Kim Jong-un’s father Kim Jong-il was born, at a secret camp where his own father, the North’s founder Kim Il-sung, was fighting Korea’s Japanese colonial occupiers. However, overseas historians say Kim Jong-il was born in the Soviet Union, where his father was in exile. South Korean tourists flock to see the mountain via China, but only a handful of Southerners have been granted access from the North Korean side, mostly for research purposes. Pictures showed Kim and Moon both in black coats on the crater rim, their clasped hands raised aloft, and the South Korean president expressed his hope that many of his countrymen would follow in his footsteps.


Source: Yahoo! News

Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in visit Korea's spiritual birthplace as US sets deadline for denuclearisation

Kim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in visit Korea's spiritual birthplace as US sets deadline for denuclearisationKim Jong-un and Moon Jae-in visited the spiritual birthplace of the Korean nation Thursday for a show of unity after their North-South summit gave new momentum to Pyongyang’s negotiations with Washington. On Wednesday North Korea’s leader agreed to close the Tongchang-ri missile-testing site in the presence of international observers, a move the US welcomed by saying it was ready for immediate talks aimed at denuclearising the North. Pyongyang also said it could dismantle its best-known nuclear facility at Yongbyon, if the US takes “corresponding measures”, as Kim and the South Korean president held their third summit this year. It is an important caveat, but the declaration appeared to break the logjam in nuclear discussions with Washington. President Donald Trump welcomed the move, tweeting that Kim had “agreed to allow Nuclear inspections, subject to final negotiations”, adding: “Very exciting!” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also praised the “important commitments”, saying he invited his North Korean counterpart to meet next week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly, and representatives of both sides to meet “at the earliest opportunity” in Vienna, home of the International Atomic Energy Agency. President Moon collects water from Lake Heaven at the bottom of Mount Paektu Credit:  Getty Images AsiaPac Washington was ready to “engage immediately in negotiations” to achieve the North’s denuclearisation by January 2021, Pompeo added – the end of Trump’s first term. The process had stalled after the historic Singapore summit between Trump and Kim in June, when Kim declared his backing for denuclearisation of the peninsula but no details were agreed. Washington and Pyongyang have subsequently sparred over what that means and how it will be achieved, with the Trump administration consistently referring to the denuclearisation of North Korea specifically. For its part, Pyongyang – which wants a formal declaration the 1950-53 Korean War is over – has condemned demands for its unilateral disarmament as “gangster-like”. Experts remain sceptical, pointing out that closing Tongchang-ri, also known as Sohae, would have no impact on the North’s ability to manufacture rockets. Pyongyang has used several other locations for missile launches and has repeatedly said it has no need for further testing. Many also believe that apart from Yongbyon, the North also has covert nuclear facilities. “The North Koreans are offering gestures that mimic disarmament,” arms control expert Jeffrey Lewis tweeted. “They don’t meaningfully constrain North Korea’s nuclear programme.” Their main purpose, he added, was “to appease Trump, so that Moon and Kim can keep their engagement alive”. “This is what an Israel-style deal looks like with North Korea: They pretend to disarm and we pretend to believe it.” Moon and Kim have sought to strengthen the North-South relationship at their Pyongyang summit, agreeing that the North Korean leader will visit Seoul “at an early date”. It would be the first such trip by a North Korean leader since the Korean War ended in an armistice, leaving the peninsula divided by the Demilitarized Zone and technically still in a state of war, and Moon said the historic journey could happen later this year. The two leaders also agreed to open a permanent facility for family reunions, work towards joining up road and rail links, and bid jointly for the 2032 Olympics. At a performance of the North’s spectacular “Mass Games” propaganda display, Moon made an unprecedented address by a South Korean leader to a Northern crowd, telling them that Koreans had lived together for 5,000 years. “I propose we move forward toward the big picture of peace in which the past 70-year-long hostility can be eradicated and we can become one again,” he said, prompting rapturous applause. On Thursday, Moon and Kim, accompanied by their wives, visited Mount Paektu on the Chinese border. Beyond the pomp and pageantry, Moon is keeping delicate denuclearisation talks with North Korea on track The 2,744-metre (9,003-foot) peak is considered sacred to all Koreans as the birthplace of Dangun, the legendary founder of the first Korean kingdom. According to Pyongyang’s narrative, it is also where Kim Jong-un’s father Kim Jong-il was born, at a secret camp where his own father, the North’s founder Kim Il-sung, was fighting Korea’s Japanese colonial occupiers. However, overseas historians say Kim Jong-il was born in the Soviet Union, where his father was in exile. South Korean tourists flock to see the mountain via China, but only a handful of Southerners have been granted access from the North Korean side, mostly for research purposes. Pictures showed Kim and Moon both in black coats on the crater rim, their clasped hands raised aloft, and the South Korean president expressed his hope that many of his countrymen would follow in his footsteps.


Source: Yahoo! News

Denuclearisation to top Moon's Pyongyang agenda

Denuclearisation to top Moon's Pyongyang agendaDenuclearisation will be high on the agenda for this week’s inter-Korean summit in Pyongyang, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Monday on the eve of his third meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. Moon will fly to the North Korean capital on Tuesday for the latest stage in a diplomatic thaw on the peninsula, although progress has stalled in denuclearisation talks between Pyongyang and Washington. “I’ve confirmed the sincere willingness of both Chairman Kim Jong Un and President Trump on several occasions,” Moon said during a Cabinet meeting.


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North Korea criticises 'alarming' US impatience on denuclearisation

North Korea criticises 'alarming' US impatience on denuclearisationNorth Korea on Saturday said the US was acting with “alarming” impatience on the issue of denuclearisation, after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed the need to maintain full sanctions pressure on Pyongyang. The contrasting comments at a security forum in Singapore came after a new UN report showed Pyongyang was continuing with its nuclear and missile programmes and evading sanctions through ship-to-ship oil transfers. At historic talks with President Donald Trump in June, North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un signed up to a vague commitment to “denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula” — a far cry from long-standing US demands for complete, verifiable and irreversible disarmament.


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Mike Pompeo arrives in Pyongyang to press for commitment to denuclearisation

Mike Pompeo arrives in Pyongyang to press for commitment to denuclearisationMike Pompeo, the US Secretary of State, vowed to get North Korea to make specific commitments towards “total” denuclearisation during the first day of his trip to Pyongyang on Friday. Mr Pompeo is aiming to leave his third trip to the North Korean capital with the promise of concrete action from Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, following his summit with Donald Trump, the US president, last month. “On this trip, I’m seeking to fill in some details on these commitments and continue the momentum toward implementation of what the two leaders promised each other and the world. I expect that the DPRK [North Korea] is ready to do the same,” Mr Pompeo said. One key aim of the trip is thought to be the return of the remains of US troops killed during the 1950-53 Korean War. Both sides have suggested Pyongyang is willing to turn over dozens if not hundreds of sets of remains. It is Mr Pompeo’s third trip to Pyongyang Credit: AP- Doubts over the North’s intentions have grown amid reports it is continuing to expand facilities related to its nuclear and missile programs and questions over how willing the North Korean dictator is to give up his nuclear arsenal. Mr Trump has faced criticism for suspending large-scale US military drills with South Korea before failing to receive a firm time frame for the North’s denuclearisation process. On Friday night South Korean officials claimed North Korea appeared to be developing a new submarine capable of launching nuclear-armed ballistic missiles. Satellite imagery reviewed by the country’s intelligence officials suggested North Korea is constructing the submarine in a facility on the east coast of the country, the Wall Street Journal reported. Mr Pompeo met with Kim Yong Chol, a senior official a who has been something of a point-man on Washington negotiations, on Friday for his first round of talks. “The more you come, more trust we can build between one another,” Mr Kim told America’s top diplomat. It was not clear if Mr Pompeo would meet directly with Kim Jong-un, as he had done previously, but the diplomat reportedly brought with him a CD with the Elton John song “Rocket Man” as a gift. Mr Trump repeatedly derided Kim as “Little Rocket Man” during heightened tensions between the two leaders, something Kim reportedly raised at their June 12 summit. According to the South Korean newspaper The Chosun Ilbo, Mr Trump asked Mr Pompeo to bring a copy of the CD and a letter during his subsequent trip to the state.


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Seoul says N. Korea sanctions may be eased before full denuclearisation

Seoul says N. Korea sanctions may be eased before full denuclearisationSouth Korea said Monday that sanctions against North Korea could be eased once it takes “substantive steps towards denuclearisation”, seemingly setting the bar lower than Washington for such a move. Last week’s Singapore summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un produced only a vague statement in which Kim “reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula”. Amid fears the summit would weaken the international coalition against the North’s nuclear programme, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed after the meeting that sanctions would remain in place until North Korea’s complete denuclearisation.


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North Korea sanctions remain until complete denuclearisation, says US

  1. North Korea sanctions remain until complete denuclearisation, says US  BBC News
  2. Pompeo Pushes Back Against North Korean Sanctions-Relief Claims  Bloomberg
  3. The US-North Korea summit was great for China, but not so good for the rest of Asia  CNBC
  4. Trump’s Declaration That North Korea Is ‘No Longer a Nuclear Threat’ Will Haunt Him  RollingStone.com
  5. Ex-CIA officer: During Trump-Kim summit, China and Russia were surely spying  Fox News
  6. Full coverage


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North Korea's Kim tells China he is committed to denuclearisation

North Korea's Kim tells China he is committed to denuclearisationBy Ben Blanchard BEIJING (Reuters) – North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told a visiting Chinese diplomat on Thursday that he is committed to denuclearisation, China’s foreign ministry said, as diplomatic efforts to bring lasting peace to the Korean peninsula gather pace. China is North Korea’s most important economic and diplomatic backer, despite its anger at North Korea’ repeated nuclear and missile tests, and its support for strong U.N. sanctions against the North.


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North Korea tells US it is prepared to discuss denuclearisation – source

  1. North Korea tells US it is prepared to discuss denuclearisation – source  Reuters
  2. North Korea Said to Offer Direct Assurance It Will Discuss Denuclearization  New York Times
  3. US reportedly confirmed Kim Jong Un is willing to discuss denuclearization  Business Insider
  4. Commentary: Summits with North Korea promise spectacular drama, risk becoming a diplomatic mess  Channel NewsAsia
  5. White House: North Korea willing to talk denuclearization  The Mercury News
  6. Full coverage


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