United States to North Korea: No Sanctions Relief Until Permanent, Verifiable Denuclearization

Trump gives freed Americans flag-waving wee-hours welcome

Some observers are concerned that South Korea's desire to build peaceful ties with the North may distance it over time from the U.S. policy of seeking nuclear disarmament at any cost.

We appreciate the efforts of the President and Secretary of State Pompeo to secure their release and the Administration's continued work to denuclearize North Korea and stabilize the region.

A prosperous city state, Singapore has already hosted a historic meeting between two leaders burdened with a legacy of bad blood and mutual distrust. During the talks, the sides agreed to seek the Korean Peninsula's full denuclearization and formally put an end to the Korean war of 1950-1953 that ended with the signing of a truce treaty.

Washington's focus is on disarming Kim's regime, which has recently tested what appear to be missiles capable of carrying his nuclear threat to U.S. cities.

"Now that North Korea has accepted in principle that agreements should be verified, US negotiators should hold them to this standard for any subsequent agreement", said Adam Mount, a senior defense analyst at the Federation of American Scientists.

Some experts suggest the summit on June 12th between Trump and Kim might provide a pivotal diplomatic opportunity to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

Mr Trump's announcement came hours after he welcomed home three American detainees released by North Korea.

The president wrote on Twitter "We will both try to make it a very special moment for World Peace!" Trump said in a tweet.

More news: Pompeo in North Korea to help arrange summit

One of the three, who appeared to be Kim Dong Chul, spoke for the group, saying "It's like a dream and we are very, very happy".

There are things to buy - but only for some people, those who have money. "We know who we are dealing with here", said Victoria Coates, of the National Security Council.

He adds: "We got Otto home the previous year, but it wasn't soon enough".

Shinzo Abe said in a televised interview that Kim should understand that agreements with the United States and South Korea on better relations and denuclearization are not enough to win Japanese aid, and that the abductees must be released.

But White House officials opposed the idea as it could put undue emphasis on South Korea. And he points to North Korea's turnabout from a year ago, when it launched more nuclear tests than at any point in its history, to pausing the program.

And more than two decades and multiple provocative weapons tests after the last accord, the threat from Pyongyang has only grown. Journalists asked Pompeo what such a denuclearization would look like and if it meant carrying out inspections in North Korean nuclear plants.

Amid concerns that North Korea will demand the US withdraw its troops from neighbouring South Korea, Ms Kang emphasised that the US military presence there must be "a matter for the US-ROK alliance first and foremost", using an acronym for South Korea's official name, the Republic of Korea.

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