China welcomes proposed US-N Korea talks

Carla Harmon
March 11, 2018

The White House tried to swat away criticism Friday that the getting nothing in exchange for agreeing to a historic face-to-face summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

I was only a few months off. Trump, to the shock and awe of much of the Washington foreign-policy elite, is now intent on meeting with Kim Jong-un, even if it isn't in North Korea proper. The South Korean envoy has also ensured that Pyongyang will not perform any new missile launches before the meeting with President Trump.

Dates and venue for the meeting have not been finalised but it will take place by end of May, South Korean officials who mediated between the two sides said.

He said President Trump will likely claim the invitation from Kim Jong-un is the result of his pressure and sanctions on North Korea and the "North Koreans buckling".

He appears set to directly press Kim Jong Un to denuclearize when they meet face to face. "Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached".

Kim made his offer of talks Monday to a visiting delegation of senior South Korean officials.

"This is an nearly miraculous event; my administration will prepare toward the May meeting with utmost diligence", he said in remarks read out in Seoul by a Blue House spokesman.

In what would be a key North Korean concession, Chung said Kim understood that "routine" joint military exercises between South Korea and the United States must continue. "It's a negotiation with an unpredictable leader who has at least 20 nuclear weapons and who threatens the United States".

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has often been publicly contradicted by the White House over North Korea, including on Thursday when just hours before the announcement of a summit he said "we are a long ways from negotiations".

"There hasn't been any North Korea-US summit meetings at all and having one after North Korea has already obtained nuclear weapons basically sends a signal that the US is willing to deal with North Korea on that basis", said Zhao Tong, a North Korea expert at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre in Beijing.

Some American officials are voicing concern that the talks will weaken the global pressure campaign against North Korea. Quite literally, China is North Korea's lifeline. But, in relaying Kim's invitation to Trump for a meeting, South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui-yong said he told the president that the North Korean dictator "said he is committed to denuclearization".

Trump has previously tried to distance himself from both Rodman's "basketball diplomacy" and North Korea.

Q: What does North Korea want?

Faced with Pyongyang's race to develop a nuclear weapon capable of hitting the continental United States, Trump's strategy has been to ramp up sanctions, tighten the diplomatic screws and regularly threaten military force.

February 9: Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, becomes the first member of North Korea's ruling family to visit the South since the end of the Korean War.

FILE - In this August 4, 2009, file photo released by Korean Central News Agency via Korea News Service in Tokyo, former U.S. President Bill Clinton, seated left, meets with North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, seated right, in Pyongyang, North Korea. But other prominent American political figures have visited Pyongyang in the past, many with a similar goal of trying to stop its nuclear program.

"He will make demands that he knows we will never agree to, like the USA abandoning South Korea", said Rubio.

January 1, 2017: Kim Jong Un says in a New Year's address that preparations for launching an intercontinental ballistic missile have "reached the final stage".

Kim, a portly 30-something whose state media recently blasted Trump as a "lunatic mean old trickster and human reject" presides over a prison state, purges his foes and has vowed to obliterate the USA in a nuclear cloud.

"What we know is that the maximum-pressure campaign has clearly been effective", Sanders said.

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