Trump Sees 'Possible Progress' in North Korea Talks

Danny Woods
March 9, 2018

Kim's estranged half-brother, Kim Jong Nam, was killed at the airport in Kuala Lumpur when two women smeared his face with the banned chemical weapons agent VX.

"This public display of contempt for universal norms against chemical weapons use further demonstrates the reckless nature of North Korea and underscores that we can not afford to tolerate a North Korean [weapons of mass destruction] program of any kind". Hong said. "I believe it is the same now".

A senior South Korean presidential adviser said Tuesday that Kim expressed a willingness to discuss nuclear disarmament and halt nuclear and missile tests during future talks with the United States. But given the North's long history of broken promises on a nuclear program that now threatens the US mainland, it wasn't surprising that Trump hedged. North Korea's state media haven't said anything concrete about what was said during Chung's trip to Pyongyang.

"For the North, a peace treaty and denuclearization means the removal of USA forces from not only the peninsula but also Japan and other bases in the Pacific theater", said Kim Young-mok, a former South Korean diplomat who was involved in the making of a 1994 freeze-for-aid framework deal between Pyongyang and Washington.

Kim said he would "understand" if the South goes ahead with delayed joint military exercises with the U.S. that usually infuriate Pyongyang, a senior official at the South´s presidential office added.

'This public display of contempt for universal norms against chemical weapons use further demonstrates the reckless nature of North Korea and underscores that we can not afford to tolerate a North Korean WMD (weapons of mass destruction) programme of any kind'.

After arriving, the South Korean envoys were invited to a meeting with Kim, Moon's spokesman, Kim Eui-kyeom, said during a news conference in Seoul. "We are going to do something, one way or the other, we are going to do something and not let that situation fester".

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Trump reacted to the news in a tweet Tuesday, writing, "Possible progress being made in talks with North Korea". "We can not have things like the prevention of nuclear proliferation or a moratorium as a final goal", said Moon.

"We must expect North Korea to find ways to circumvent any deal", the Malden Democrat said, "so we need to maintain pressure, including by cutting off North Korea's access to crude oil and remaining sources of revenue".

Kim Jong Un's half-brother was assassinated on the orders of the North Korean government, the U.S. has said.

The announcement that the North and South will hold a summit in late April with the North is considering abandoning its weapons programmes in exchange for security guarantees has been welcomed across the world. "Just because there are talks ongoing between North and South Korea doesn't mean global sanctions can be eased", said Moon. "North Korea talks given the North's willingness to freeze its testing program, this is unlikely to evolve into a sustained diplomatic process that leads to denuclearization", they said.

Despite North Korea's apparent change of heart, the South Korean president needs to avoid being overly optimistic about the outcome of his first meeting with Kim Jong Un, experts warned.

This would be the first time since the Korean War ended in 1953 that the North Korean leader had crossed into the South and the first meeting between Kim and another head of state in his six years in power. "(Kim) expressed his wishes to be considered as a serious partner in dialogue", Chung said. The North sees those forces and their periodic exercises with South Korean troops as a threat to invade the North.

"The United States would need to enter any dialogue with very detailed ideas on where it will draw the line in talks with North Korea because there will be a mixture of demands it might be able to meet and those it can not meet", Hong said.

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