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US Pauses New North Korea Sanctions

US Pauses New North Korea Sanctions

US Pauses New North Korea Sanctions

Trump confirmed Tuesday that a top North Korean official, Kim Yong Chol, is headed to NY for talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

On the nuclear question, the analysis suggests that a more realistic immediate objective would be convincing Kim to walk back recent progress on the country's nuclear weapons program, the officials said.

The talks indicate that planning for the unprecedented summit, initially scheduled for June 12, is moving ahead after Trump called it off last week in a letter to the North's leader, Kim Jong Un. The U.S. officials are led by Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, who formerly was the U.S. ambassador to Seoul and a top negotiator with North Korea in past nuclear talks.

"We can create conditions for real economic prosperity for the North Korean people that will rival that of the South", he said earlier this month in a televised interview.

The countries were expected to hold another set of working-level meetings in Singapore to discuss protocol, security and other logistical issues for the summit.

Pompeo has travelled to Pyongyang twice in recent weeks for meetings with Kim Jong Un, and has said there is a "shared understanding" between the two sides about what they hope to achieve in talks.

Trump said Sunday that a US team was in North Korea to work on plans.

It is still not clear whether North Korea's vision of "denuclearization" in exchange for security guarantees and sanctions relief can be brought into line with Washington's demand for a "complete, verifiable and irreversible" end to its nuclear program.

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Despite the North's apparent eagerness for a summit with Trump, there are lingering doubts about whether Kim Jong Un will fully relinquish his nuclear weapons, which he may see as his only guarantee of survival.

Washington is looking for signs that Kim is ready to accept that talks must lead to him giving up his nuclear arsenal and if the letter is well received it will mark an extraordinary diplomatic turn-around. Later, South Korea's Foreign Ministry said the nations' officials have been engaged in talks at the Korean village of Panmunjom, which straddles the border inside the demilitarized zone, or DMZ.

North Korea's flurry of diplomatic activity following a torrid run in nuclear weapons and missile tests in 2017 suggests that Kim Jong Un is eager for sanctions relief to build his economy and the global legitimacy the summit with Trump would provide.

Kim Yong Chol is a vice chairman of the North Korean ruling party's central committee.

Since that short-lived crisis, diplomats in both countries have conducted an intense flurry of negotiations, culminating on Thursday when Pompeo sat down in NY with Kim's number two, Kim Yong Chol.

He sat next to Trump's daughter Ivanka, who is also a White House aide, during the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics in the South Korean resort of Pyeongchang which was a turning point in the nuclear crisis.

Kim Yong Chol would be the highest-level North Korean official to travel to the United States since 2000, when Vice Marshal Jo Myong Rok visited Washington and met President Bill Clinton amid warming ties between the wartime foes. That was a shift from last week, when Trump announced in an open letter to Kim Jong Un that he had made a decision to "terminate" the summit following a provocative statement from the North. Sanders said Trump will host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan on June 7th to coordinate their thinking ahead of the summit. The United States stations 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War. Trump hosted South Korean President Moon Jae-in last week.

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