Kim Jong Un hasn’t changed his stance on denuclearization

Nikki Haley

Despite having a border with North Korea and relatively cordial relations that President Vladimir Putin has seemed to want to develop further, Russian Federation has kept a surprisingly low profile as Kim has emerged onto the world stage this year, meeting twice with Chinese President Xi Jinping and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. But North Korea flipped on the U.S. in May, blasting Trump officials and saying it was reconsidering the summit.

Meanwhile, the two Koreas agreed during a high-level meeting on Friday to hold talks later this month on military issues and reunions of families separated by the Korean War, a joint statement said.

But the White House says talks of the "total denuclearization of the peninsula" do not extend to US weapons systems - a defense umbrella covering South Korea which includes nuclear-armed submarines and strategic bombers capable of carrying nuclear bombs not based on the peninsula. "And I'm going to be very happy when the day arrives when we can take sanctions off and have a very good relationship with the entire Korean Peninsula", Trump said.

A pair of USA delegations have held talks this week with their North Korean counterparts at the Korean demilitarized zone and in Singapore.

"Our secretary of state is having very good meetings".

Pompeo, Trump's former Central Intelligence Agency chief, has travelled to Pyongyang twice in recent weeks for meetings with Kim Jong Un.

"We welcome the summits that already took place between Pyongyang and Seoul as well as planned meetings between North Korean and USA leadership".

North Korea conducted a series of missile tests and nuclear detonations a year ago, which led to the imposition of additional United Nations Security Council resolutions meant to isolate the country economically.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press conference after meeting with Kim Jong Un's right-hand man Kim Yong Chul on Thursday in NY.

North Korea is estimated to have more than a dozen nuclear weapons.

More news: U.S. To Continue Trade Actions Against China: White House

It's the highest-level official North Korean visit to the USA in 18 years.

His travel restrictions were lifted this week so he could fly to NY and Washington, DC to meet U.S. officials, the Department of State said.

Experts cautiously raised the possibility Thursday that South Korea, North Korea and the U.S. could declare an end to the Korean War in Singapore following a Pyongyang-Washington summit later this month, amid preparations in full swing for the historic summit.

Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol already met twice in Pyongyang, but as this was Kim Yong Chol's first visit to the US, the secretary of state made it a prerogative to show him America's best features, including its famous steaks.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in has expressed hope for holding three-way talks to declare a formal end to the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended in an armistice, possibly in Singapore following the North Korea-US summit.

Within a day, both sides were in new talks to save the summit, and Kim Yong-chol flew to NY this week to meet Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Kim Yong-chol was greeted by White House Chief of Staff John Kelly before heading, along with several other officials, towards the Oval Office entrace.

Prospects for the Singapore summit have careened up and down as both sides threatened one another and engaged in diplomatic brinkmanship, with Trump announcing on May 24 that he was pulling out - and then quickly jumping back. The last official of his stature to visit the United States was Jo Myong Rok, the late first vice chairman of the National Defense Commission, who visited Washington in 2000, South Korea's Unification Ministry said. But he has also said a meeting could still take place.

Seoul's unification minister Cho Myoung-gyon told reporters before the meeting: "We will hold discussions with the North so that we can implement the agreements between the two leaders with pace and without hitches and also create a positive atmosphere for the leaders' summit between North Korea and the United States".

Russian Federation is the latest major nation to reach out to North Korea since Trump accepted Kim's proposal for a summit.

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