North Korea Still an ‘Extraordinary Threat’: Pentagon

North Korea Still an ‘Extraordinary Threat’: Pentagon

Prior to meeting with the president, Chol met Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as the administration pushed ahead with plans for a second summit between Trump and Kim.

U.S. President Donald Trump will hold a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un around the end of February but will maintain sanctions on Pyongyang, the White House said on Friday after Trump met Pyongyang's top nuclear negotiator.

The meeting in the Oval Office at the White House was due at 12:15 pm (1715 GMT), Trump's spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said.

"They will discuss relations between the two countries and continued progress on North Korea's final, fully verified denuclearization", White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

CNN quoted a source familiar with the US-North Korea talks as saying that Kim Yong-chol would be carrying a new letter for Trump.

Since that June meeting, North Korea has continued its pause in nuclear and missile tests, and Trump has called off joint military exercises between United States and South Korean forces, but it has not led to any substantial dismantling of Pyongyang's nuclear programme that Trump claimed would follow from the Singapore summit.

Last week, South Korean President Moon Jae-In urged Pyongyang to take "bold, practical measures for denuclearisation" to ensure sanctions are lifted but stressed that "corresponding measures" were also needed from Washington, such as agreeing a "peace regime" and formally declaring an end to the 1950-1953 Korean War.

Talks in Washington between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo are former North Korean spy chief Kim Yong Chol are aimed at finalizing a second summit.

Trump declared after the Singapore summit in June that the nuclear threat posed by North Korea was over.

The State Department said that Pompeo had a "good discussion" with Kim Yong Chol "on efforts to make progress on commitments President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un made at their summit in Singapore". North Korea has been demanding that the USA lift harsh sanctions and provide it with security guarantees before it takes any steps beyond its initial suspension of nuclear and missile tests.

Harry Kazianis, an analyst at the Washington-based Center for the National Interest, said: "Both nations must now show at least some tangible benefits from their diplomatic efforts during a second summit, or risk their efforts being panned as nothing more than reality TV".

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc said that Vietnam was ready to welcome the two leaders, noting that Hanoi has a growing relationship with the United States despite war memories.

The announcement of a second summit came hours after a BuzzFeed report alleged that Mr Trump had directed his personal lawyer to lie to Congress in 2017.

'I think there is somewhat of a general consensus of what denuclearization means.

'People have been very skeptical of this top-down approach, but we won't know unless we try it, ' Town said.

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