North Korea prepares to dismantle nuclear test site

Donald Trump Kim Jong Un summit nears US reinforces East Asia ballistic missile defence

Trump encouraged Kim to seize the opportunity for the meeting and to make a deal to abandon his nuclear program, pledging not only to guarantee Kim's personal security, but also predicting an economic revitalization for the North.

About two dozen journalists from Western and Chinese news organizations arrived in North Korea on Tuesday to witness the closure of its nuclear test site, an indication that the shutdown will go ahead amid renewed diplomatic uncertainty. When North Korea's Kim issued his surprise invitation for a summit with Trump, South Korea said the USA president deserved most of the credit.

The highly publicized dismantling of the plant, and the invites to foreign journalists to witness it, comes as North Korea lashes out at the US and South Korea over long-scheduled joint military exercises, and at the USA for taking credit for the diplomatic breakthrough.

Moon said in the Oval Office that the "fate and the future" of the Korean Peninsula hinged on the talks, telling the US president that they were "one step closer" to the dream of a denuclearized Korean Peninsula.

Earlier, South Korea's national security director told reporters his country is confident the Trump-Kim meeting will go forward.

Trump later contradicted Bolton, saying the United States is not looking to Libya as a model for the administration's approach to denuclearization.

Speaking last week, the president offered assurances to Mr. Kim that if he agreed to give up his nuclear arsenal, he would survive in power and his people would prosper. On the other hand, China wants to avoid drawing North Korea closer to the USA and South Korea, exacerbating its own security concerns.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, right, and his wife Kim Jung-sook wave before leaving for the United States at Seoul Airport in Seongnam, South Korea, Monday, May 21, 2018.

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"Even if the USA and South Korea try to weaken China's impact in the negotiation process, Xi and Kim's recent two meetings have proved that China and its support are indispensable", said Yue Li, senior fellow at the Pangoal Institution, a Beijing-based think tank. But he now enters a White House meeting with President Donald Trump with his status in the diplomatic driver's seat in doubt.

He added: "You'll know soon".

"South Korea and the USA have been sharing every bit of information", he said. Even as the Kim regime sends out conflicting signals ahead of the planned summit with the U.S., the regime wants to put on a demonstration of their openness to the idea.

Pulling out of the Iran deal will make the upcoming negotiations with North Korea easier, not more hard, said Sen. After he got rid of his nuclear program, he was killed years later in a popular uprising aided by US and allied aircraft.

"It is in his best interest as well as North Korea's best interest to come to talk and participate in the summit, and in his long-term best interest to eliminate the nuclear weapons from North Korea", said Barrasso.

The North Koreans have sent mixed messages on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. "There was no deal to maintain Qaddafi".

The North Koreans want a nuclear deal like the one President Barack Obama gave to Iran: sanctions relief up front, billions of dollars in cash, a weak inspection regime and sunset clauses on the back end. In March, Moon despatched particular envoys to North Korea to encourage talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

Many analysts dismissed this however, pointing out North Korea's position had not shifted significantly, and an improved relationship with Beijing did not mean China could pull the strings.

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