United States offers to help rebuild North Korea economy

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seen at Peace House of the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone South Korea on April 27

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is seen at Peace House of the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone South Korea on April 27

But North Korea has said it is willing to talk now because it has already succeeded in becoming a nuclear-armed state, fueling skepticism the North would truly being willing to give those weapons up. The U.S. has nearly 30,000 soldiers stationed in the country.

"I think what the prospect for North Korea is to become a normal nation, to behave and interact with the rest of the world the way that South Korea does", Bolton said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo noted on Sunday that President Donald Trump has called for the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the North.

Pompeo told Fox News, "This will be Americans coming in...not the US taxpayer...to help build out the energy grid".

Despite the high probability of a meeting between the United States and North Korean leaders, it is yet unclear whether the sides will be able to reach agreement, the expert noted. Has China told Kim to calm down, talk with President Trump, and if he doesn't, he will lose the backing of China?

Now, he is working with his own diplomats and with regional allies like South Korea to prepare the agenda for the more high-stakes encounter between two unpredictable leaders.

Pompeo's surprise visit to North Korea appeared to be fruitful, as he returned with three Americans who had been held in North Korean labor camps.

Trump past year threatened the North with "fire and fury".

To avoid repeating that pattern, Pompeo implied, Kim would have to make sweeping concessions up front, which would be matched quickly by USA private investment in North Korea, focused on improving its antiquated power grid and boosting its food supply. Nixon let China keep its nuclear weapons and didn't pressure them on human rights.

He also stepped across the border into South Korea during a historic meeting with President Moon Jae-in in April, making him the first Northern leader to set foot in the South since the Korean War ceasefire in 1953.

By 1992, the standoff at the DMZ was less hostile: that year the two Koreas signed a declaration pledging to denuclearize the Korean peninsula.

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Pompeo said he had a "good" conversation with North Koreans and did his best to convey the U.S. message to them. Those measures were announced because of his country's repeated nuclear and missile tests.

Trump, for his part, will not take well to anything that is "step by step", so he will seek shortcuts to achieving something that resembles his stated objective.

Pompeo urged Pyongyang to take "bold action to quickly denuclearise". It is not clear how North Korean and US officials can resolve the differences over their positions.

Interested in North Korea?

North Korea's sudden change in attitude was probably driven by the mounting global sanctions imposed over its weapons programmes that had begun to take a toll on the livelihoods of ordinary citizens, Thae said.

"The administration is perhaps inflating expectations of what the North Koreans can expect in terms of private investment", said Andray Abrahamian. The North did not reveal the number of spots it will give to non-Korean journalists, according to the ministry.

"They can ensure both the President's and Kim Jong-un's security, as well as provide neutrality", he added. He believes the United States and North Korea are "starting off on new footing". Historically, North Koreans have been paid very low wages.

By contrast, North Korea's GDP is less than $20bn, placing it well outside the top 100 economies.

The possibility of peace in Korea has raised expectations that economic conditions in East Asia will soon improve. We very much hope to see further steps, more concrete steps towards denuclearisation being produced at the US-North Korea summit.

The South Korean government has already suggested developing modern railroads that would connect the Korean Peninsula to China and Russian Federation. At the time, South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo reported, reunification would cost at least $1 trillion.

VOA's Brian Padden reported this story.

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