Japan calls for North Korean steps toward denuclearization

North Korean minister'to visit Sweden ahead of Trump Kim talks

North Korean minister'to visit Sweden ahead of Trump Kim talks

United States officials on Sunday defended President Donald Trump's decision to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, saying the move was not just for show and not a gift to Pyongyang.

His visit is part of Seoul's efforts to rally support for the recent breakthroughs in bringing the North to talks and to get other key stakeholders including China, Russia and Japan on board.

Pyongyang has been surprisingly quiet on the slew of momentous, and possibly even historic, events that have come in quick succession over the past few months.

"This potential meeting has been agreed to, there are no additional conditions being stipulated, but, again they cannot engage in missile testing, nuclear testing and they can't publicly object to the U.S".

The U.S. "maximum pressure" strategy aimed at severely restricting Pyongyang's hard currency earnings through harsh worldwide sanctions has made China increasingly uneasy. A senior U.S. official said North Korea offered to suspend their nuclear missile testing alongside their invitation for talks.

Previous meetings between North Korean and American officials have taken place in Pyongyang, including a 2000 meeting between US Secretary of State Madeleine Albright and Kim's father and predecessor Kim Jong Il. As Baik suggested, sometimes it takes a while to figure out what that message should be.

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The North Korean government might have also been holding off because it's concerned the summit proposal could fall through, which could be hard to explain to their own public. -North Korea summit, Xi welcomed the US president's decision to meet with Kim and urged both sides to "start engagement and dialogue as quickly as possible and strive to obtain positive results".

Relations have been deteriorating since 2007 when years of talks aimed at ending North Korea's nuclear programme broke down.

A South Korean soldier walks through a political march near Seoul Station featuring thousands of Korean and American flags on Saturday, March 10, 2018.

The White House will convene a meeting Tuesday to discuss preparations, an administration official said.

The South claims the North is willing to discuss denuclearization, but it likely will only do so on terms the US should never accept. Kim may offer to give up his nukes for USA forces' pullout from South Korea and a signed peace treaty.

Tillerson says the first meeting will be about Trump and Kim "getting a sense of one another" and determining whether there is the space and will to accomplish something together on the North's nuclear weapons program. Last year Washington and Pyongyang traded unusually strong threats - North Korea threatened to strike the U.S. territory of Guam while Trump promised to respond with "fire and fury". After all, it had sent envoys to Pyongyang to explain its stance and to persuade the North to negotiate. It could be that Trump's policy of talking tough, combined with years of economic sanctions, has yielded dividends and Kim will put abandoning his nuclear programme on the table. And with many details to work through, there's a lot of work to be done before the meeting becomes a certainty. "I would say just remain patient and we'll see what happens".

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