Trump says "it's possible" North Korea nuclear agreement could collapse

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un smiles during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defence Science in Hamhung
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un smiles during a visit to the Chemical Material Institute of the Academy of Defence Science in Hamhung Credit Reuters
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07 July, 2018

He also reiterated that he got along with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, adding that the two discussed various issues including denuclearization as well as the return of the remains of US troops killed during the Korean War. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo should be prepared to welcome such steps, but not as a substitute for progress in achieving the complete, verifiable, irreversible disarmament of North Korea's illicit programs.

USA media outlets have reported in recent days that North Korea is upgrading its official nuclear enrichment site at Yongbyon, stepping up enrichment at two or more secret sites beyond Yongbyon, and continuing to develop and produce solid fuel engines for missiles and mobile launch vehicles for its ballistic missiles.

Asked about the USA diplomat's visit, Kim Eui-keum, a spokesman for South Korea's presidential Blue House, said Seoul was aware of the meeting but that it would be inappropriate to comment further. "One, in the last eight months you haven't seen missile launches", she added, referring to North Korea's former habit of provocatively testing ballistic missiles.

The White House refused to comment on media reports saying North Korea was planning to hide its nuclear weapons and missiles programme.

The Stanford team has proposed a 10-year roadmap, based on its belief that "North Korea will not give up its weapons and its weapons program until its security can be assured".

Trump has faced criticism for declaring that North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat, and has said that the talks are part of a longer-term process to rid it of its nukes. Over the weekend, a USA envoy met with the North Koreans at the DMZ.

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Nauert began answering questions about the current state of the relationship between the United States and North Korea by commending the "good spot" that relations had reached within a year. That led to the North's participation in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in February and two summits with South Korean President Moon Jae-in.

The president made the remarks ahead of talks between U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Kim in Pyongyang later this week, in what will be the first high-level bilateral meeting after the Trump-Kim summit on June 12 in Singapore. The Financial Times reported that Pompeo was due to visit North Korea this week but the State Department has not confirmed any travel plans.

Tensions between the two countries have eased since the summit, with Trump suspending some joint military exercises with South Korea - which experts call a significant concession by the United States - and North Korea apparently starting work to repatriate some remains of American troops missing in the 1950-1953 Korean War.

Kim has agreed to take visible steps to improve U.S. "Secondly, they likely targeted (Trump), asking if he was deceived by North Korea because no progress has been reported in the three weeks after the summit".

In testimony before a US Senate committee, Mr Pompeo declined to go into specifics but suggested the scope of what the US has in mind.

Last week, 38 North, a North Korea monitoring project affiliated with Washington's Stimson Center think tank, said satellite imagery showed the North had been upgrading its Yongbyon nuclear complex.


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