North, South Korea set up hotline for leaders ahead of summit

Kelvin Reese
April 21, 2018

Clapper did not, however, meet with Kim, who has only in recent weeks emerged from worldwide seclusion after taking power six years ago and super-charging North Korea's push to become a nuclear power.

The joint annual military exercises between South Korea and the United States were reduced in scale and shortened in period this year, while the DPRK paused its nuclear and ballistic missile tests amid a sudden period of detente.

It is not unprecedented for US intelligence officials to serve as conduits for communication with Pyongyang. Pulling that back would end the USA commitment to "extended deterrence" - its threat of nuclear retaliation if either country is attacked by the North. The talks resulted in North Korean athletes having been allowed to compete in the Winter Olympics, held this year in South Korea's Pyeongchang.

"They only talk about an end to hostilities against their country and about getting security guarantees", he added.

Deva has held 15 meetings over the past 30 months with senior figures from the North Korean regime and more are planned.

But any demands for an exit of U.S. troops would likely be a nonstarter for America.

Since taking office, Trump has sought to distinguish himself not just from Democratic President Barack Obama but also from the Republican Bush, both of whom failed to blunt North Korea's nuclear weapons program. Trump said that was under negotiation and there was a "good chance" of winning their release, but he wouldn't say whether that was a precondition for sitting down with Kim.

North: "OK. With this, let's conclude the test call".

His other explanation: The move is "disingenuous". The agenda includes, mainly, the issues of denuclearization, establishment of permanent peace in the peninsula and the improvement in Inter-Korean links.

Mr Moon has said that Mr Kim is willing to discuss denuclearisation and that he will not insist on American troops being withdrawn from South Korea as part of any deal.

Moon, however, has tried to tamp down these fears.

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Lee is also likely to meet Susan Thornton, acting USA assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs.

North and South Korea have opened up a direct hotline connecting the neighbours' leaders ahead of a closely watched summit next week.

It will be the first time a North Korean leader has visited the South since the end of the Korean war, and only the third time any South or North Korean leaders have met.

"If I think that if it's a meeting that is not going to be fruitful we're not going to go".

Kim's apparent concession on U.S. troop withdrawal has taken many by surprise.

On Thursday, President Moon announced North Korea had not raised its long-running demand for the withdrawal of USA forces in exchange for giving up nuclear weapons - an apparent concession that analysts greeted with skepticism.

Still, there may be another type of logic behind Kim's diplomatic opening.

"We will never use nuclear weapons unless there is a nuclear threat or nuclear provocation to our country, and in any case, we will not transfer nuclear weapons and nuclear technology", KCNA reported, suggesting the North intends to remain a nuclear weapons state but act responsibly.

Trump said Wednesday he expects Paul to come through on Pompeo.

Pyongyang to freeze long-range missile tests, plans to close nuclear test site.

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