South Korea Defense Report Doesn't Refer to North as Enemy

South Korea Defense Report Doesn't Refer to North as Enemy

Kerry Wise
January 19, 2019

Kim will stay overnight in Washington - the first such case for a North Korean official since 2000 - and meet with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday.

USA media reported that Kim Yong-chol, a senior DPRK official in charge of negotiations with the United States, will arrive in Washington on Thursday for a two-day visit.

"The Chinese side will communicate strategically with the South Korean side on Korean peninsula matters, and we will proceed together [with the South Koreans] for the progression of a diplomatic solution to the peninsula situation", Kong said.

Pompeo had planned to meet his North Korean counterpart to discuss the second summit of November 2018, however, the meeting was postponed.

Friday's meeting in Washington was key to taking the North Koreans' temperature ahead of a second summit and see if such a meeting would be productive, a US official told ABC News.

US officials said at the time that North Korea had canceled the session.

Kong Xuanyou and Lee Do-Hoon are expected to discuss ways to achieve complete denuclearisation and peace on the peninsula, as well as an expected second summit of U.S. and North Korean leaders.

"Secretary Pompeo and Special Representative Steve Beigun had a good discussion this morning with DPRK Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol on efforts to make progress on the commitments President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un made at their summit in Singapore", Palladino said in a statement.

The Singapore talks followed an incident in which a South Korean warship directed a fire-control radar at a Japanese Maritime Self-Defense Force patrol plane in the Sea of Japan last month.

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"While the president is promising dialogue with Chairman Kim, we still await concrete steps by North Korea to dismantle the nuclear weapons that threaten our people and our allies in the region", Pence said in an address to USA ambassadors and other senior American diplomats at the State Department.

The North Korean leader is scheduled to travel to the communist-run country for an "official state visit" sometime in February, Reuters news agency reports citing unnamed sources.

Kim Jong Un expressed frustration in an annual New Year's address over the lack of progress in negotiations. "Suh frequently travels to the US", the source said.

Lee told Kong Beijing has played a "constructive role in the past year" on North Korea and affairs are moving in a positive direction.

"Vice President Mike Pence said Wednesday that the still awaiting "concrete steps" by North Korea to dismantle the nuclear weapons that threaten our people and our allies in the region".

"We have clear-cut scientific evidence to corroborate our position that our STIR did not send out any signals", the Defense Ministry official here said.

"If North Korea accepts, it's a realizable scenario", it quoted the source as saying.

During that visit, Kim Yong Chol was able to break the impasse between Washington and Pyongyang and help get the first US-North Korea summit back on track.

Speculation has grown that the White House is seeking to break the nuclear deadlock by backing off its demand for the North's "final, fully verified denuclearization" and is instead looking into a deal that would at least partially ease crushing sanctions imposed on Pyongyang over its nuclear weapons and missile programs in exchange for a cap on long-range missiles believed capable of striking the United States.