Published: Thu, May 24, 2018
Entertaiment | By Minnie Bishop

Foreign Media Head to North Korea to Cover Nuclear Test Site Shutdown

Foreign Media Head to North Korea to Cover Nuclear Test Site Shutdown

Foreign reporters at Kalma Airport in Wonsan, North Korea, Tuesday.

"It would be a great mistake for Kim Jong Un to think he could play Donald Trump", he told Fox News.

"I don't think President Trump is thinking about public relations", Pence said.

Trump administration officials have also grown concerned that the President is overly eager for the summit to take place, increasing Kim's leverage should the talks take place, U.S. officials and a source close to the administration said.

"I have no doubt that you will be able to. accomplish a historic feat that no one had been able to achieve in the decades past", Moon said.

The national security adviser advocated for verification of North Korea's denuclearization efforts, but he did not seem to imply that the U.S. would try to remove the North Korean leadership.

Now the focus may be on keeping the Trump-Kim meeting alive. But he added that as of now, "we're driving on".

What we now could be witnessing is advisors to Kim Jong Un arguing for their leader to make the case for North Korea to retain some nuclear capability, at least until the North receives security assurances, peace treaty, economic development assistance and normalization of relations with the U.S. It appears that Kim Jong Un had made a strategic decision to dismantle his nuclear arsenal, in return for the myriad of economic and political deliverables he wants, which would then permit him to focus on rebuilding his economy and gaining worldwide recognition as a normal sovereign state, attracting global investment and other benefits from membership in the worldwide community. "We'll see what happens". Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump was referring to a commitment to seriously discuss denuclearization.

The biggest sticking point appears to be the definition of denuclearization: US officials have repeatedly said they expect North Korea to accept "complete, verifiable, irreversible disarmament", while Pyongyang is seeking a phased process that could include a reduced USA military presence in the region. It also threatened to pull out of a summit with US President Donald Trump, scheduled for June 12 in Singapore. He quizzed his aides on the wisdom of the meeting, then called Moon in Seoul on Saturday night for advice.

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Last week, Trump told reporters at the White House that the Kim was possibly being influenced by China after two recent visits he made there. Trump said he'd noticed "a little change" in Kim's attitude after the trip. That's a possibility that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has likely taken into account in his country's plans to work toward denuclearization.

"Probably more than anyone else - more than Trump, more than Kim Jong Un - there is more at stake for Moon Jae-in than either of them", said Joseph Yun, the former United States special representative for North Korea policy.

In past negotiations with North Korea, agreements made with their negotiators were always contingent on obtaining their leader's approval.

"I will guarantee his safety, yes", Trump said, noting that promise was conditioned on an agreement to complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.

Depending on the results of the Moon-Trump summit, and the determining of the exact date of the dismantlement ceremony, which the North said could be dependent on weather conditions, some Seoul officials pointed out that South Korean journalists still may have an opportunity to arrive in the North through a different means, such as via the Kaesong Industrial Complex. "Moon would try to propose a compromise plan between the USA and North Korea as the latter, unlike its initial promise, appears intent on delaying its denuclearization process and slicing it into several steps". "North Korea summit and the upcoming Seoul-Washington summit in an unwavering manner", according to the South Korean statement. It was posted online by an anti-secrecy group.

Moon, who also spoke to the President by phone on Saturday, hopes to keep the summit on track, believing the recent diplomatic warming has forestalled the possibility of USA strikes on North Korea. The White House turned heads this week with the release of a commemorative "challenge coin" for the summit, featuring profile engravings of Trump and Kim for the "peace talks".

The White House Communications Agency regularly issues commemorative or challenge coins to present to foreign guests, diplomats and members of the military. But at the same time, it is still a very small piece of the puzzle that doesn't affect the North's core nuclear capabilities or arsenal. They were not authorized to speak publicly.

"North Korea still going ahead with closing the Punggye-ri site shows its willingness to denuclearize and hold a summit with the United States", he said. From Wonsan, they will travel to the test site by bus.

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