N. Korea preps nuclear site demolition despite US summit doubts

Casey Dawson
May 23, 2018

Seoul is seeking to mediate between the United States and North Korea, with President Moon Jae-in visiting Washington on Tuesday to urge Mr Trump to seize a rare opportunity to meet Mr Kim.

The planned Singapore summit with Kim "may not work out for June 12", Trump told reporters at the White House during his meeting with Moon.

U.S. President Donald Trump makes his way to board Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House on May 23, 2018 in Washington.

"We will apply financial pressure, coordinate with our (Department of Defense) colleagues on deterrence efforts, support the Iranian people, and hold out the prospect of a new deal for Iran - if it changes its behavior", Pompeo said Wednesday.

Pompeo said Kim also "wanted security assurances from the world, the end of the status that sits between South and North Korea, with the eventual goal of a peace treaty".

Yesterday, Mr Trump said there was a "substantial chance" the summit would not take place as planned.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that Mr Trump was asking aides and advisers whether the meeting should go ahead.

Pompeo said the North Korean leader "asked for the meeting, the president agreed to meet with him".

However, based on his own discussions with the North Korean leader, Pompeo said he was hopeful that Trump could convince Kim to make a strategic decision to denuclearize.

Pyongyang's campaign to get its citizens back comes as the thaw in cross-border ties looks increasingly shaky, following a string of angry denunciations of the US and South Korea by the North's state media.

In a surprise announcement Pyongyang said earlier this month that it planned to "completely" destroy the Punggye-ri facility in the country's northeast, a move welcomed by Washington and Seoul.

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Trump suggested the summit could be delayed rather than canceled: "It may not work out for June 12, but there is a good chance that we'll have the meeting". But there also is the risk of a diplomatic failure that would allow the North to revive and advance its program.

"The fate and the future of the Korean Peninsula hinge" on the meeting, South Korea's president, Moon Jae-in, told Trump in an Oval Office meeting Tuesday.

Pompeo said Trump would be leading the talks but declined to discuss how many people, or who, would be on the summit team.

"I have every confidence that President Trump will be able to achieve a historic feat of making the upcoming U.S". "It would certainly be better if it were all in one", Trump said, before adding, "You do have some physical reasons that it may not be able to do exactly that".

"We have made zero concessions to Chairman Kim and have no intention to do so", Pompeo said.

Talks between the Koreas will likely resume after Friday, once Max Thunder finishes, said Moon's media secretary, Yoon Young-chan.

South Korea in the past has repatriated North Koreans who expressed a desire to return, such as fishermen rescued after drifting into South Korean waters.

North Korea has rejected unilateral disarmament and given no indication it is willing to go beyond statements of broad support for the concept of universal denuclearization.

Trump expressed suspicion that the North's recent aggressive barbs were influenced by Kim's unannounced trip to China two weeks ago - his second in as many months.

Thanks to American power and leverage in the region, in addition to Kim Jong Un's obsession with survival, the United States retains the capability to deter Pyongyang from rash actions.We should all be cheering the Trump administration along as it embarks on its most important foreign policy mission yet.

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