China says hopes US-North Korea summit can proceed smoothly

China says hopes US-North Korea summit can proceed smoothly

The move came hours after summit talks between President Moon Jae-in and U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington which they agreed to keep the plan for the June 12 summit between the North and the U.S. on track. New cell phone policy at Pentagon Doubts grow over Trump-Kim summit MORE, are saying all the right things and acknowledging that the United States can not rely on economic strangulation and political pressure alone.

North Korea accepted the list of South Korean journalists chosen to cover the dismantlement of the North's nuclear test site at the last minute on Wednesday, allowing the media to travel to the North to observe the high-profile demolition event, the unification ministry said.

The United States and South Korea are working to keep the scheduled US summit with North Korea on track - even after President Donald Trump's comment that "there's a very substantial chance" it won't go off as planned.

Yesterday, Mr Trump said there was a "substantial chance" the summit would not take place as planned.

North Korea is demanding the return of 13 defectors to the South as a condition for the resumption of talks with Seoul, with support groups for thousands who have fled the repressive regime in the North saying there is genuine fear that Seoul might give in to Pyongyang's demands and that their lives might be at risk.

On the North Korean side, a notice written by top negotiator Ri Son Gwon expressed unhappiness at a recent military joint US/South Korea military drill called Max Thunder, which resulted in the cancellation of talks between Pyongyang and Seoul.

"Thanks to your vision of achieving peace through strength as well as your strong leadership", Moon said in the Oval Office, "we find ourselves standing one step closer to the dream of achieving denuclearization on the Korean peninsula".

He indicated the United States may not demand North Korea give up its nuclear programme before getting sanctions relief - a sequencing he said was a fatal flaw of the Iran nuclear deal he scrapped.

"It may not work out for June 12", Trump said of the Singapore meeting, adding in a now familiar non-committal riff: "if it does not happen, maybe it will happen later".

Speaking on the day he welcomed Mr Jae-in for a White House visit, Mr Trump told reporters: "We'll see what happens". "But you know, like I said I hope for the best".

Moon sent his own national security advisor to the White House in March, carrying an offer of talks and word that North Korea may be willing to abandon nuclear weapons, an enticing prospect.

The journalists from the MBC television network and News1 wire service took a special government flight later Wednesday to go to the North's northeastern coastal city of Wonsan.

North Korea is also said to be making efforts to fix and test the safety of a 270-kilometer stretch of railway between Wonsan and Kilju in North Hamgyong Province, where the Punggye-ri site is located.

There has been speculation that the closing of the site is merely a bit of geopolitical stagecraft since it has already been so badly damaged.

Joel Wit, director of 38 North and a senior fellow at the Stimson Center, said dismantling the site is not a meaningless gesture, as there are two areas of the installation that have never been used for tests and still contain tunnels.

"In an ideal world, we wouldn't just have journalists observing what's going on", said Wit.

There was euphoria when the planned summit with the US was announced but since then there have been doubts on both sides. In part, it's a nice piece of theater. "But it's an opening to accomplish something more significant by building on it".

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