North Koreans vote in poll but winners are already known

Saul Bowman
March 13, 2019

Due to the developments observed in North Korea's nuclear plants, South Korea revealed that it has been monitoring the movements in the facilities in order immediately detect any attempt for a missile launch.

"In close coordination with the U.S., (we) will push for inter-Korean talks to help the USA and North Korea meet again and reach an agreement on denuclearization and corresponding measures", the ministry said in a report detailing its 2019 policy direction.

Some experts say these suggest North Korea may be assembling a long-range rocket to carry out a banned satellite launch following the breakdown of last month's North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi.

Several reports surfaced by Seoul's spy agency and two USA think tanks speculating that restoration work at the Pyongyang's long-range missile launch site in Dongchang-ri.

Asked about the images on Wednesday, Trump said "it's too early to see" if North Korea is breaking a promise by rebuilding the site.

North Korea favours a more step-by-approach, with Kim proposing dismantling its Yongbyon nuclear complex in exchange for lifting the main sanctions - a notion Trump refused in Hanoi despite the vaunted "chemistry" between the pair.

South Korean newspaper Maeil Business reported Monday North Korea has been promoting the Mount Kumgang tourist region on a state-sanctioned website.

Moon explained why North Korea, which has feared U.S. military action for decades, continues to maintain its strategic assets.


But North Korea has not yet committed to full denuclearisation, and the US will not accept partial denuclearisation, said Mr Biegun as he outlined the state of US-North Korea diplomacy and its stumbling blocks in his first public comments since the Hanoi summit.

Kim also participated at a polling station at Kim Chaek University of Technology in Pyongyang after arriving there at 11 a.m., the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported.

"The president said repeatedly that he feels the absence of nuclear tests, the absence of ballistic missile launches is a positive sign".

Interviewed on ABC's "This Week," National Security Adviser John Bolton downplayed the chances of an imminent North Korea missile test. Media outlets have been speculating about such a test amid claims of repairs taking place at a North Korean launch site.

The US should seek the gradual denuclearization of North Korea because an "all-or-nothing" strategy will not help break an impasse in talks, a special national security adviser to South Korea's president said on Tuesday.

"After Biegun's Stanford speech, I had a strong impression that they're being realistic, but at the summit, they actually took an all-or-nothing position", Moon said. Voters showed election officials their ID cards to get their ballot with the sole candidate's name on it, which they cast in a private booth.

The military here is chiefly dependent on the U.S. Forces Korea's spy planes and satellite images because the targets are located north of Pyongyang a long way from the demilitarized zone.

But his insistence that the U.S. would not lift sanctions until complete denuclearisation was achieved was greeted with scepticism by the Washington audience, which pressed him repeatedly with questions on whether the Trump administration's approach was realistic and what North Korea would get in return.

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