N. Korea preps nuclear site demolition despite US summit doubts

N. Korea preps nuclear site demolition despite US summit doubts

N. Korea preps nuclear site demolition despite US summit doubts

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that a planned summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un depends at this moment on Kim. "I think they should seize the opportunity, and we'll soon find out whether or not they want to do that", Trump said while addressing reporters at the White House on May 22.

"The maximum pressure campaign of diplomatic and economic sanctions is bearing fruit with the historic meeting set to take place on June 12th", and was supported by allies, Pompeo said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says it is ultimately up to North Korean leader Kim Jong Un whether a planned summit with President Donald Trump takes place.

Citing sources familiar with the preparations, The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Kim was less concerned about meeting Trump than he was about what might happen at home in Pyongyang while he's gone.

"Just learned we'll depart for the North Korean nuclear site at Punggye Ri at 5:10pm local time, just over one hour from now", CNN reporter Will Ripley tweeted Wednesday afternoon. A number of elite North Koreans also defected in recent years.

But North Korea accepted the list of the South Korean journalists to attend via a cross-border communication channel.

US officials said preparations for the summit were still underway despite recent pessimism - and privately suggested there would be additional public maneuvering as both sides seek to maximize their leverage.

That was a reference to Libya's former leader, Muammar Gaddafi, who agreed to give up nuclear weapons in 2003 and was later killed by Western-backed rebels.

Pompeo steered away from that comparison, but said the US wants "rapid denuclearization, total and complete, that won't be extended over time".

"North Korea can say to the worldwide community that it did its best to achieve denuclearisation through negotiations but was pressured by the United States and couldn't do it", he said. "It is indeed not our model".

Inside the West Wing, aides said Trump was upset by Kim's first visit to China in March, ahead of which Beijing did not notify the White House.

Trump hedged on the issue Tuesday. "I don't want to waste a lot of time, and I'm sure he doesn't want to waste a lot of time", he further said.

38 North, a USA website dedicated to monitoring developments in North Korea, earlier reported that satellite imagery shows that North Korea is preparing to build an observation stand for the dismantling of its nuclear test site. On Wednesday it was escorting a group of worldwide reporters, including an Associated Press Television crew, to witness the closure of its atomic test site.

Pompeo said Trump would be leading the talks but declined to discuss how many people, or who, would be on the summit team. And I think we'll get those conditions.

"There are multiple components of their system that threatens America", Pompeo said, including missiles, rocket engines, production of fissile nuclear material, and the capacity to produce that fissile material.

Trump's concerns about China's influence on the summit with Kim were reflected in the president's tweet last week in which he declared that his administration was looking at ways of potentially assisting ZTE, a Chinese phone maker that has struggled in the wake of USA economic sanctions.

"We're optimistic that we can achieve an outcome that would be great for the world", Pompeo said.

Kim appeared genuine and engaged in conversation, Pompeo said.

Trump suggested the summit could be delayed rather than canceled: "It may not work out for June 12, but there is a good chance that we'll have the meeting".

Russian Federation announced Wednesday that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov will travel to North Korea for a visit on May 31.

Mr Trump expressed suspicion that the North's recent aggressive barbs were influenced by Mr Kim's unannounced trip to China two weeks ago - his second in as many months.

The president added that he hoped Chinese President Xi Jinping was actually committed to the goal of denuclearizing the Korean peninsula, calling him a "world-class poker player".

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