Tuesday, 23 October, 2018

USA offers to help rebuild N Korea economy if it denuclearises

The three Americans formerly held hostage in North Korea gesture next Image Mr Trump said it was a 'special night for three really great people'
Ebony Burgess | 12 May, 2018, 21:36

Pompeo said he had told North Korean leader Kim Jong Un of that hope during his brief visit to Pyongyang earlier this week, during which he finalized details of the upcoming June 12 summit between Kim and President Donald Trump and secured the release of three Americans imprisoned in the country.

At the time this news broke, Pompeo was holding a joint news conference with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha.

In a dramatic turnaround after Kim and Trump had traded threats of war and personal insults, the young North Korean leader vowed to pursue denuclearisation at a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in last month.

Red Velvet, a popular South Korean girl band, met with North Korean leadership after their concert there and described Kim as "warm" and their audience as "responsive, clapping a lot" although unfamiliar with most K-pop music.

Journalists from the United States, Russia, South Korea, China and Britain will be invited to witness the process, North Korea state media said Saturday.

Baik Tae-hyun, a spokesman for South Korea's unification ministry, which handles issues involving North Korea, told a briefing the account from the North Koreans had to be checked. It has developed into one of Asia's most affluent nations.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and his wife attended that concert along with top officials from North Korea, including Kim's sister and closest aide, Kim Yo Jong.

The main issue under discussion at the Trump-Kim summit will be North Korea's nuclear weapons, which the U.S. is demanding Pyongyang give up.

Trump said Kim was "nice" for letting the three free before a summit planned between the two leaders, which he said would occur "in a few weeks".

When asked if he deserves a Nobel Peace Prize, Trump laughed and replied, "Everyone thinks so, but I would never say it".

The pair, he said, talked "about how it is he wishes to proceed and if he's prepared, in exchange for the assurances that we're ready to provide him, if he is prepared to fully denuclearize".

NBC internal report: Leadership did not know about Lauer behavior
But investigators also found credible that NBC News and Today show leadership did not know about his behavior. The report said the first formal complaint about Lauer was made by an unidentified employee on November 22.

But he stressed that this would require a "robust verification" programme by the USA and other nations.

Following the Moon-Kim summit, Moon's office said Kim was willing to disclose the process to worldwide experts, but the North's statement Saturday didn't include any mention about allowing experts on the site.

South Korea's Kang shared in Pompeo's optimism and was at pains to insist that there is no daylight between how Washington and Seoul are approaching the talks.

"We're not talking about sanctions relief at this point", she said.

Watch Pompeo's opening statements at the press briefing below.

.

She also underlined that USA forces in the Republic of Korea have "played a crucial role for deterrence and peace and stability" and said the presence of troops in the area is a matter for the alliance between the US and South Korea "first and foremost". Sanders cited the recent release of three American detainees as an example of the progress made so far. He said, "We're starting off on a new footing".

She said that the idea of the USA reducing its military footprint in South Korea wasn't on the table.

"If the two sides can agree on a path forward, the United States could likely offer some combination of security guarantees, economic incentives and sanctions relief, and a path to normalization of relations", former State Department official Mintaro Oba said.

ROK is the acronym for the South's formal name, the Republic of Korea.

Hardliners in the North are believed to see possession of a nuclear weapon as a guarantee against US-led efforts to topple Kim's regime.

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