Change In Kim Jong-Un's Attitude After His Meeting With Xi

Oscar Cross
May 23, 2018

US President Donald Trump reiterated on Tuesday his suggestion that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's recent meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping had influenced Mr Kim to harden his stance ahead of the summit.

Secretary Pompeo said US leaders are aware of the risks of the trip to North Korea, but they remain hopeful about the prospects for a deal that will result in the denuclearization of North Korea.

Mr Trump raised the possibility that the meeting could be pushed back during a White House meeting with South Korea president Moon Jae-in, trying to co-ordinate strategy as concerns mounted over ensuring a successful outcome for the North Korea summit.

Amid the uncertainty, a White House team is headed to Singapore this weekend to work on logistics for the trip.

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

Trump said on Tuesday there was a "substantial chance" the summit would not take place. One of them said she didn't know that she was going to South Korea and thought she was simply being moved to a different housing facility.

"We hope for an early realisation of complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula through a North Korea-US summit and dialogue of various levels, starting with the abolition of the nuclear test site", ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told a news briefing.

Global journalists left on a marathon journey to a North Korean nuclear test site on Wednesday, 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.

Trump said he didn't want to "totally commit" himself on whether North Korea should denuclearize all at once or in phases.

38 North, a US website dedicated to monitoring developments in North Korea, earlier reported that satellite imagery shows that North Korea is preparing to build an observation stand for the dismantling of its nuclear test site. On Wednesday it was escorting a group of worldwide reporters, including an Associated Press Television crew, to witness the closure of its atomic test site.

But doubts have since been cast by both sides on whether that potentially historic meeting will take place.

If the summit is called off or fails, it would be a major blow to what Trump supporters hope will be the biggest diplomatic achievement of his presidency.

"While the U.S. has instinctive resistance against the North, it will realize that I'm not the type of person who would use nuclear weapons on the South, the Pacific or the U.S.", Kim told Moon at their April 27 summit. Asked by lawmakers whether he had a commitment from Kim to make it the part of a deal, Pompeo said, "We have broad outlines of what it is that each nation is prepared to do".

Both parties to the talks are invested in holding the meeting, with Kim seeing an opportunity for worldwide legitimacy and Trump the prospect of securing Korean stability - and perhaps a Nobel Peace Prize.

"We're moving along. We'll see what happens".

The nuclear agreement reached with Britain, France, Germany, Russia, China and Iran "was based on the willingness to put additional sanctions in place" if Iran continued to engage in ballistic missile tests and terrorist activities across the Middle East, Pompeo said.

Mr Trump said he had noticed "a little change" in Kim Jong-un's "attitude" after Kim took a second trip to China this month in the run-up to the summit.

"The government will swiftly carry out necessary measures for the journalists such as granting approvals for visiting North Korea and providing transportation", the ministry said.

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