Historic hotline links South, North Korean leaders ahead of rare summit

Historic hotline links South, North Korean leaders ahead of rare summit

What is surprising with regard to the rapidly evolving situation surrounding Trump's expected meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is that Washington and Pyongyang have already held direct high-level talks. If true, this would seem to remove a major sticking point to a potential nuclear disarmament deal.

Kim's ultimate goal, Kawai argues, is to see the withdrawal of 28,500 USA troops from South Korea and the breaking of Washington's alliance with Seoul, a development that would match China's interests as well because it would alter the military balance in East Asia.

Although Moon reported that North Korea isn't asking for the USA troops to leave, he said the North still wants the United States to end its "hostile" policy and offer security guarantees.

"North Korea kicked off the third plenary session of its ruling Workers" Party's central committee this Friday.

The two Koreas will hold what will be their third summit since the 1950-53 Korean War next Friday, with a subsequent meeting planned between Kim and Trump - which would be the first time a sitting USA president had met the North's leader.

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The date and venue of the Trump-Kim summit has not yet been fixed.

Each side made a call to check the line.

The meeting was last held in October 2017.

But Moon signalled that a treaty would depend on the North giving up its nuclear weapons.

According to Kim, South Korea will have two rehearsals, one on April 24 in the afternoon and one on April 26. It is unclear whether Trump has understood security concerns about North Korea's shorter-range missiles as well as about its intercontinental ballistic missiles. "North Korea is only talking about the end of a hostile policy against it and then a security guarantee for the country".

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Trump revealed Tuesday that the US and North Korea had been holding direct talks at "extremely high levels" in preparation for their summit.

The 1950-53 Korean War ended in an armistice rather than a peace treaty, leaving the two sides technically at war.

Kim Byung-yeon, a North Korean economy expert, pointed to North Korea's high trade dependence. Some worry that potential discussions on formally ending the war may distract from already hard efforts to rid the North of nuclear weapons and apply robust verification of that process.

North Korea has defended its nuclear and missile programs in the face of worldwide condemnation and sanctions as a necessary deterrent against perceived US hostility.

"Driving a wedge into security coordination among Japan, the United States and South Korea is precisely what China has in mind", Kawai said during a visit to Washington last month for talks with USA lawmakers and experts. But the efforts faltered and relations between the rivals worsened after a conservative government took office in Seoul in February 2008.

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"President Trump should reaffirm our commitment to our ally and work closely with China and others in the region, especially our courageous ally, Japan, so that North Korea does not miscalculate USA resolve, so that other allies in the region and around the world are reaffirmed in their confidence in the USA, so that we are able to maneuver from a position of strength, and so that any solution is sustainable", he said.

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