National Security Council chief Chung Eui-yong and National Intelligence Service chief Suh Hoon fly to Washington on Thursday to brief U.S. President Donald Trump on their meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
"I really believe they are honest", Trump said at a White House news conference, sounding more optimistic than his intelligence chief, Dan Coats, who told a Senate hearing he has "very, very low confidence" that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un intends to give up his nuclear arms.
But the North will be posing its own demands in any negotiation with the U.S. Washington has not ruled out a preliminary "chat" to set the agenda for a more formal meeting and to gauge whether Pyongyang is truly willing to denuclearize.
Moon declined to comment on the summit, saying: "We will see".
Moreover, the North said that it "does not have any reason to have nuclear weapons" if there is no hostility or security threat against it. Chung said that the North also made it clear that it would not use its nuclear arsenal or other weapons against the South.
North Korea has never accepted the investigator's mandate. That suggests the possibility Kim will insist in any deal that the USA withdraw its almost 28,000 troops from South Korea.
The complaint by many observers is that North Korea has repeatedly used disarmament talks as a way to ease outside pressure and win badly needed aid, while all along secretly pressing its weapons development.
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The South Korean leader also acknowledged the need to discuss a road map for the process.
Any discussion of a United States troop withdrawal will be fraught, however, as both Seoul and Washington see them as a bulwark against North Korean provocations. He has nicknamed the North Korean strongman "Little Rocketman", in a roundabout way called him "short and fat" and countered Kim's bragging about North Korea's nuclear capabilities by tweeting that he also has a "Nuclear Button, but it is a much bigger & more powerful one than his, and my Button works!" Kimura said that the worst-case scenario for Tokyo would be a possible "Japan passing" by the USA and South Korea, where the two allies go ahead and negotiate with North Korea on terms that fail to fulfill Japan's stated goal of completely ridding the isolated regime of its nukes.
South Korean President Moon Jae-in also stressed the importance of denuclearization during a Wednesday luncheon with five party leaders in Seoul, including Choo Mi-ae of his ruling Democratic Party of Korea and Hong Joon-pyo of the opposition Liberty Korea Party.
Trump said Kim's apparent willingness to negotiate is likely due to the sanctions, and China's role in applying them. But Trump has put new pressure on other countries to enforce ever-harsher penalties.
Tensions over North Korea's nuclear and missile programmes rose to the highest level in years in 2017. Then give us credible security guarantees.
By floating a reported desire for the "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", North Korea could be pushing for its long-sought goal of removing US military assets.
Seoul and Pyongyang have also agreed to hold what would be a third inter-Korean summit late next month. South Korea, where they now live, say the women defected.