S. Korea sees 99.9-pct possibility for DPRK-US summit: Blue House

The Punggye-ri site

The Punggye-ri site

South Korean President Moon Jae-in plans to meet Trump in Washington on Tuesday to discuss plans for the summit.

And it could be a deciding factor in whether the Trump-Kim summit moves forward.

While denuclearization as a first step has always been United States policy, on Saturday, James Clapper, a former director of national intelligence under Barack Obama, said this was a mistake.

It was reported by the American press on Sunday that Mr Trump is deliberating with advisors over whether he should follow through with the meeting.

"It was clear from the start that North Korea would treat the inter-Korean summit differently from its meeting with the U.S.", said Anwita Basu, an analyst with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU).

Given the timing of the North's exclusion of South Korean reporters from the ceremony, experts say that Pyongyang is pressuring Seoul - an easier target - to express its discomfort toward the USA and to extract more concessions. -South Korean military drills that were taking place. He quizzed his aides on the wisdom of the meeting, then called Moon in Seoul on Saturday night for advice. The North also threatened to abandon the planned Trump-Kim meeting over USA insistence on rapidly denuclearizing the peninsula, issuing a harshly worded statement that the White House dismissed as a negotiating ploy.

Despite the threats published in North Korea's state news agency, Trump has said plans for the summit are moving full-steam and that his administration has not received any threats issued directly from Pyongyang.

"Specialists must be dispatched to the site to collect samples from past tests and analyze them to determine explosive power and materials used", Albright told the Mainichi Shimbun.

The New York Times reported on Sunday that the U.S. president is asking aides and advisers whether he should continue to go forward with the summit.

There's good reason to believe that Moon's handling of potential talks with North Korea - and, with that, his handling of Trump - has helped boost those numbers.




In North Korea itself, foreign journalists arrived to watch the dismantling of a nuclear test site this week in a significant concession before the Trump talks. The report on North Korea's military capabilities was based on an assessment of developments in 2017 and was provided to Congress in April.

"Moon Jae-in has been playing the role of matchmaker and he has heightened the expectations of both sides", said Shin, a nuclear non-proliferation expert and senior researcher at the Korea Institute for Maritime Strategy. "Moon would try to propose a compromise plan between the USA and North Korea as the latter, unlike its initial promise, appears intent on delaying its denuclearization process and slicing it into several steps".

The South Korean government expressed "regret" that its journalists were not able to travel to the North, but noted that the dismantling of the nuclear test site was a step toward denuclearization.

"For Moon, it's mission impossible", Kazianis said. The White House turned heads this week with the release of a commemorative "challenge coin" for the summit, featuring profile engravings of Trump and Kim for the "peace talks".

"Moon could appeal to Trump that he can see the completion of North Korea's denuclearization within his term", said Yoo Hoyeol, who teaches North Korean studies at Korea University in South Korea.

More fundamentally, it appears odd that the Trump administration does not recognize the contradiction between wanting to blow up the Iran nuclear deal and, at the same time, pressing North Korea to sign a nuclear deal.

Three weeks before an unprecedented U.S.

Speaking last week, Trump suggested Chinese President Xi Jinping could be "influencing Kim Jong Un", and encouraging the North Korean leader to take a more strident tone.

Addressing what he thinks would make or break the summit, he said, "I think that ultimately is going to be the extent to which the Americans are flexible or willing to go into the summit open-ended or with question marks". Last month, he suggested that Trump should win the lauded Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts.

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