S.Korean Envoys to Brief Trump on Meeting With Kim Jong

08 March, 2018, 03:46 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • John Park Says Skepticism Is Healthy on North Korean Denuclearization

US President Donald Trump described Pyongyang's offer as honest, but said it came after much pressure.

The White House has said its policy of "maximum pressure and engagement" was created to use sanctions to push the regime of Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table to talk about the future of his nuclear weapons programme.

The U.S. last August enacted the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, which increased restrictions on doing business with North Korea, sanctioned North Korean cargo and shipping and cut off foreign aid to any country that provides or receives military equipment from North Korea. The North sees those forces and their periodic exercises with South Korean troops as a threat to invade the North.

"North Korea talks", a presidential official said on Wednesday. South Korean President Moon Jae-in has said sanctions should not be eased for the sake of talks and that nothing less than denuclearisation of North Korea should be the final goal for talks. 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.

But at the same time, the Abe administration's hard-core "get-tough" attitude to date suggests that any pursuit of its own thaw with the North is not in the offing at the moment, he said.

South Korean officials who returned from a two-day visit to the North Korean capital reportedly brought back the communication.

"I think they are honest because of the sanctions with respect to North Korea, including the great help we have been given by China", he said during a White House press conference, adding that the sanctions imposed on the North had been "very strong and very biting".

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The diplomatic source told the Post that Chung will deliver "conditions from the North Korean side to start some bilateral dialogue with the United States".

North Korea has in the past repeatedly made promises to abandon nuclear weapons, only to eventually walk out of talks and return to provocations.

And what might the North demand in any talks?

"Hopefully we'll go in the very very peaceful, handsome path", the president said. "But we are prepared to go either way". Of the possibility for peacefully resolving the nations' deep differences, he said: "It'd be a great thing for the world, would be a great for North Korea, it would be a great thing for the peninsula". But one of the leading contenders for the national security adviser's job - John Bolton, who met Trump at the White House on Tuesday - is even more hawkish towards North Korea.

Jenny Town, the assistant director of the US-Korea Institute at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, said the ball was now in Trump's court.

Chung and Suh will also meet senior US officials like White House National security advisor H.R. McMaster and Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo.

Late last month, the USA imposed additional sanctions on the country after it decided Pyongyang used the chemical warfare agent VX to assassinate Kim's half-brother in Malaysia in 2017. And Trump's threat of steel tariffs would have a damaging economic effect on South Korea, the third biggest supplier of steel to the US.



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