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U.S. envoy meets North Korean officials at DMZ

06 July 2018

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un asked Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in Beijing in June to work towards bringing an early end to economic sanctions imposed on his country, Japan's Yomiuri newspaper reported on Sunday.

"To prove North Korea's willingness to denuclearize, at the minimum, there should be an agreement on the basic roadmap on denuclearization of North Korea - the definition, timeframe and verification procedures and the ways to guarantee the North Korean regime", said Park Won-gon, a professor at Handong Global University. Trump said in his Twitter post, echoing his sentiments following the historic meeting with Kim in Singapore.

White House Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders on Monday announced that U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will visit Pyongyang from Thursday to Saturday. The official was not authorized to comment publicly on the matter and requested anonymity.

"We're very well aware of North Korea's patterns of behavior over decades of negotiating with the United States", he said.

South Korea's Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha is expected to fly to Tokyo for a trilateral meeting with Pompeo and her Japanese counterpart Taro Kono on the North Korea nuclear issue.

China and the USA both hope to see the Korean peninsula free of nuclear weapons.

He said the one-year program the U.S.is proposing would cover all of the Norths chemical and biological weapons, nuclear programs and ballistic missiles.

Doubts over North Koreas intentions have deepened amid reports that it is continuing to produce fissile material for weapons.

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Further in addition to the known uranium-enrichment facility, some 60 miles north of Pyongyang, North Korea is also believed to have operated a secret underground uranium enrichment site known as Kangson, the daily said.

A USA official told The Associated Press that the Post's report was accurate and that the assessment reflected the consistent view across US government agencies for the past several weeks.

Mr. Hecker and two colleagues at Stanford's Center for International Security and Cooperation compiled an estimate of North Korea's nuclear arsenal and developed a six- to 10-year timeline to dismantle the program fully. They say any solid deal will require Kim to be completely transparent about his program - at a time when intelligence reports suggest he will try to deceive the United States about the extent of his covert weapons or facilities. The Post is withholding details at the request of intelligence officials.

However, the officials believed North Korea was "positioning itself to extract every concession it can from the Trump administration - while clinging to nuclear weapons it believes are essential to survival", NBC News reported.

"There's nobody involved in this discussion with North Korea in the administration who is overburdened by naïveté".

Trump reiterated in an interview broadcast Sunday that he thinks Kim is serious about denuclearization.

"First, they would want to say that they have lots of intelligence on North Korea and that its relations with the US would go back to the past if it doesn't take practical disarmament steps", Nam said.

Given North Korea's long history of deception, such reports are likely to raise more questions about exactly what was achieved at Singapore.

U.S. envoy meets North Korean officials at DMZ