Published: Thu, March 08, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

North Korea Leader To "Vigorously Advance" Ties With South

North Korea Leader To

However, increasingly strict sanctions implemented by the United States and United Nations have strangled the North Korean economy. Essentially: You want our nukes?

The United States current has 28,500 troops stationed in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War. -South Korean military exercises that the North claims are invasion preparations. The widely unexpected concessions came in an unprecedented meeting between the South Korean envoys and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on Monday.

The us has said it is "cautiously optimistic" about improving north-south contacts, but ruled out formal talks with Pyongyang unless it is ready to give up its nuclear weapons.

Conservative opposition leaders expressed concern during Wednesday's meeting at Seoul's presidential palace that North Korea could use the talks as a way to reduce the pressure, and also questioned whether the North in genuinely interested in abandoning its nuclear weapons.

"The U.S. -Japan alliance may not be as strong as the Japanese believed it was", he said, adding that Tokyo's weaker presence as a player in dealing with Pyongyang under such a scenario would, in turn, make it even more hard for it to secure the release of abductees kidnapped by North Korean agents in the 1970s and 1980s - one of the top policy priorities for the Abe administration. The North defends its weapons programmes as necessary to counter USA aggression.

"For meaningful dialogue to happen, it's extremely important that North Korea takes concrete steps toward denuclearization", Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.

Despite the shifting ground, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Katsuyuki Kawai, his special diplomatic adviser now in Washington, that Japan will continue to pressure the North for the time being, Kyodo News reported Wednesday.

The official said Chung had already spoken to McMaster on the phone shortly after completing this week's visit to North Korea.

In fact, the North's main Rodong Sinmun newspaper yesterday repeated that the country must enlarge its weapons arsenal to deal with "American nuclear threats and blackmailing".

"Just because there are talks ongoing between North and South Korea doesn't mean global sanctions can be eased", he said.

The denuclearization dialogue also involves the two Koreas and the United States.

The South Korean envoys are expected to brief US officials on North Korea's stance on possible future talks with Washington and its apparent willingness to suspend nuclear tests if the security of the North's government is assured.

The answer, it would seem, has been a part of North Korea's PR campaign throughout much of the a year ago. "The United States knows this very well", said Go Myong-Hyun of the Seoul- based Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

The United States, Go said, may face a "dilemma" over whether to accept the North's reported offer for talks, but, in the end, it may pursue "exploratory talks" to hear directly how far North Korea is willing to disarm.

South Korean officials who returned from a two-day visit to the North Korean capital reportedly brought back the communication.

And what might the North demand in any talks?

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