While Chinese researchers had published a report on Monday claiming that the Punggye-ri nuclear test site had collapsed and was beyond fix, USA intelligence officials told Reuters on Friday that the site “remains usable in spite of damage from a previous blast, and its closure could easily be reversed”.
Choi said inter-Korean cooperation projects on the border, including on forest fire and flood prevention, would on the agenda at the planned military meeting, which would be the first since October 2014. It certainly contains some spin to make Kim look better, but most of the meeting and the proposals under discussion were allegedly given to the public.
Trump tweeted Saturday that the logistics for his planned meeting with Kim Jong Un are “going very well”.
The South Korea government said over the weekend that Kim has offered to abandon nuclear weapons if the United States agrees to formally end the Korean War – that conflict ended with an armistice in 1953, not a peace treaty – and also pledges not to invade North Korea.
“If the United States meets often and builds trust with us and promises an end of war and non-aggression, why would we lead a hard life?”
In Washington, National Security Adviser John Bolton said the Trump Admnistration isn’t “starry-eyed” about Kim’s promises.
Grand overtures, private conciliatory statements, and historic photo ops aside, it is far from clear that the upcoming summit between the two Koreas and the USA will amount to lasting change.
Reports also suggest that North Korea’s nuclear site has been so badly damaged that it can no longer be used, undermining the significance of Kim’s announcement.
The commitment to denuclearisation does not explicitly refer to North Korea halting its nuclear activities but rather to the aim of “a nuclear-free Korean peninsula”.
In an interview on CBS’s “Face the Nation”, Bolton said that in addition to the Libya case, they were looking at previous actions by North Korea, including a 1992 nuclear agreement between the Pyongyang and South Korea. “And until such time, the president has made it incredibly clear we will keep the pressure campaign in place until we achieve that”.
Mindful of previous times the North Korean regime has not followed through on promises, Pompeo said the US has its “eyes wide open” and will require concrete action from Kim.
North Korea was hit with unprecedented economic restrictions during 2017, when the US and North Korean leaders traded threats while Kim pushed his nation to the verge of being able to fire a nuclear-tipped missile at the USA mainland.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in an interview with ABC that aired Sunday that when he met with Kim several weeks ago, they talked about denuclearization and three US prisoners held in North Korea.
“In terms of his traveling anywhere, it would not be a problem – the South Koreans or the Swedes would give him a ride”, Victor Cha, a Korea analyst for MSNBC, told The Post.
“What we need is only peace”, Moon told a meeting of senior secretaries, according to a presidential Blue House official who briefed media. “However, they imply a phased process with reciprocal concessions”, Mount said in an email.
And the effort got a nonpartisan push Monday from South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who responded to talk of his own potential Nobel by saying it should go to Trump instead.
It couldn’t be immediately ascertained if Trump, Kim and Moon – all three together or separately – were among the 329 candidates on the Nobel peace prize shortlist for 2018 – 216 are individuals and 113 are organizations.
Trump said he was pleased with the inter-Korea summit and the two leaders spoke about preparing for a proposed meeting between Trump and Kim that could happen as soon as May.