Wednesday, 18 September, 2019

United States envoy to hold talks in North Korea on February 6

Ties between Japan and South Korea- two of the US's closest security partners- have arguably turned their most hostile in more than half a century over a series of diplomatic disputes US, South Korean diplomats meet ahead of Trump-Kim summit
Patty Aguilar | 05 February, 2019, 19:53

The UN Security Council has unanimously boosted sanctions on North Korea since 2006 in a bid to choke funding for Pyongyang's nuclear and ballistic missile programs, banning exports including coal, iron, lead, textiles and seafood, and capping imports of crude oil and refined petroleum products.

The South Korean and American flags fly next to each other at Yongin, South Korea, August 23, 2016.

Senior U.S. and South Korean officials met Sunday to discuss an expected second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. In turn, Chung told the United States envoy about South Korea's assessment of the current situation and what Seoul and Washington have to do together going forward.

Stephen Biegun explained to Chung Eui-yong Washington's stance toward North Korea ahead of talks on setting up the summit, the presidential Blue House said in a statement.

SEOUL-Pyongyang doesn't allow Instagram, but if it did it would likely be full of photos of a female North Korean art troupe, whose "risque" dresses are rocking the reclusive state.

He said there was "a very good chance that we will make a deal".

"The meeting is set", said the president.

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The first meeting between Kim and Trump last June in Singapore produced a vaguely worded document in which the North Korean leader pledged to work towards "the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula".

While Trump has hailed "tremendous progress" in his dealings with North Korea, the United Nations report found that Pyongyang "is using civilian facilities, including airports, for ballistic missile assembly".

But the report, seen by Reuters on Monday, suggested the regime was doing everything possible to protect its nuclear and missile programmes. "He can't do that with nuclear weapons and he can't do that on the path they're on now". It has repeatedly demanded that the United States reciprocate with measures such as sanctions relief, but Washington has called for North Korea to take steps such as providing a detailed account of its nuclear and missile facilities that would be inspected and dismantled under a potential deal.

In his New Year's speech last month, Kim urged more cooperation between the Koreas and said the North is ready to reopen the factory park and resume joint tours to the resort.

It was correct to say that sanctions would only be lifted when denuclearization is achieved, he said, but that is not the same as saying "we won't do anything until you do everything" - in other words there are steps the United States could take to build confidence in the meantime.

Satellite footage taken since the June summit has indicated North Korea has been continuing to produce nuclear materials at its weapons factories.

Trump said earlier that the venue and exact date of the next summit would be announced Tuesday during or shortly before his State of the Union address.

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