Trump says nuclear talks with North Korea 'going well'

Aaron Brown
July 7, 2018

Round two would come just three months after the two leaders met in Singapore and as news reports over the weekend say North Korea has continued to work on its nuclear stockpile and is trying to hide its missiles, reports the New York Post.

Experts say Pompeo's visit to Pyongyang would serve as a barometer for future negotiations over North Korea's nuclear weapons programs.

South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha is expected to fly to Tokyo for a trilateral meeting with Pompeo and her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on the North Korea nuclear issue.

The claim, made by White House National Security Adviser John R. Bolton during a round of TV interviews Sunday, comes as the Trump administration is quietly accelerating negotiations with North Korea in what analysts describe as the crucial next step that will make or break the denuclearization agreement struck at the Singapore summit.

"If they have the strategic decision already made to do that and they're cooperative, we can move very quickly", he said.

South Korea's Hyundai company built a basketball stadium in Pyongyang during the "Sunshine Period" of engagement between the North and South and a joint game was played there in 2003.

If Kim cooperates, Mr Bolton said, the process would happen quickly. That led to the North's participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February and two summits between Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

In meetings with Chinese officials and analysts before the Singapore summit between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, I encountered a recurring question: Would Trump accept incremental gestures of goodwill from North Korea, perhaps as stepping stones toward eventual denuclearization?

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Others think Kim might try to drag out the process and wait out the Trump administration, which a year ago had provided a credible threat of military force against the North.

Mr Trump said the U.S. "would be at war with North Korea" if he had not stepped in and skilfully halted Kim Jong-un's nuclear ambitions - despite USA intelligence leaks suggesting North Korea is still expanding its nuclear arsenal.

Former UN weapons inspector David Albright told CNN on Monday that his firm has new information about a secret North Korean facility producing highly enriched, weapons-grade uranium. "One can argue that the North Koreans are doing all of this to get maximum concessions out of the United States if and when they decide to give up their nuclear program".

They also agreed to the recovery of remains of thousands of US servicemembers still missing from the 1950-53 Korean War and "the immediate repatriation of those already identified".

Bolton also conceded that the speed of denuclearization depends on North Korea's cooperation - which is a wild card.

In testimony before a US Senate committee, Mr Pompeo declined to go into specifics but suggested the scope of what the US has in mind.

"There was a buzz when I shared a glass of soju and talked with Ri Myong Hun in 2003", Hur said.

Other reports by Free-Prsite

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