China says it hopes US-North Korea summit can proceed smoothly

Former South Korean National-Security Adviser: The US May Have to Withdraw Some Troops

Former South Korean National-Security Adviser: The US May Have to Withdraw Some Troops

The planned summit between US President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-il depends on the North Korean leader, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said.

In his meetings Tuesday with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump hoped to gain clarity on North Korea's nuclear intentions.

North Korea could dismantle its key nuclear test site as early as Thursday, if weather conditions permit, an official said, according to information from South Korea's media corps.

Observers will be watching the nuclear test site destruction ceremony closely for any clues to the North's mood.

Last week Pyongyang threatened to pull out of that summit if Washington pressed for its unilateral nuclear disarmament.

"There are certain conditions that we want", Mr Trump said.

Punggye-ri has been the site for all six of the North's nuclear tests, the latest and by far the most powerful in September previous year, which Pyongyang said was a Hydrogen bomb.

The country's first test was largely seen as a failure and produced an estimated yield of only about one kiloton, compared to as much as 250 kilotons in the sixth - an explosion 16 times more powerful than the United States atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima in 1945.

While Pompeo testified, worldwide journalists left Wednesday on a marathon journey to a North Korea nuclear test site, after Pyongyang belatedly cleared a number of South Korean media to witness what it says will be the dismantling of its only nuclear test facility.

"The president has made clear we are prepared to provide security assurances" to Kim, "if we get a good deal", Pompeo said.

Meanwhile, six South Korean nationals are believed to be held by North Korea.

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Also wary of possibilities of any unexpected friction with the North, the South Korean government gave the activists a permission to travel to the off-limit areas only a few days before the Saturday event, the organizers noted.

Go Myong-hyun, an analyst at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, said both sides were playing "a game of chicken" in the run up to the summit "to gain an upper hand in negotiations".

His aides are looking to Moon to help determine whether Kim is taking a harder line against denuclearisation than South Korea had previously communicated to them, a United States official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

The minor Bareunmirae Party called for cool-headed attitudes in handling North Korea's denuclearization.

Reporters from news outlets from the other countries said on Twitter they arrived in the North Korean port city of Wonsan on Tuesday.

A handful of foreign journalists, including from South Korea, were invited to attend the demolition ceremony.

The refusal followed North Korea's abrupt cancellation of a meeting of senior officials of the two countries slated for last week, where they were set to discuss follow-up measures to the historic inter-Korean summit on April 27.

The ministry said it planned to arrange a rare direct flight on Wednesday between the two countries, who remain technically at war, to ferry the journalists to Wonsan.

"I have no doubt that you will be able to. accomplish a historic feat that no one had been able to achieve in the decades past", Moon said.

Trump encouraged Kim to focus on the opportunities offered by the meeting and to make a deal to abandon his nuclear program, pledging not only to guarantee Kim's personal security but also predicting an economic revitalization for the North.

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