N. Korea Rips U.S. Demands In Nuke Talks

Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump appeared headed to conflict last year, when North Korea tested ballistic missiles capable of reaching the continental United States and Mr. Trump threatened to “totally destroy the North.” Speaking at the United Nations a year ago, Mr. Trump called the Korean leader “Rocket Man.”

But the North Korean leader dramatically embraced diplomacy early this year, suspending all nuclear and missile tests and meeting the leaders of South Korea, China and the United States.

Since then, Mr. Trump appears to have been won over by Mr. Kim’s overtures, often talking about their personal relationship after their meeting in Singapore. His optimism stands in contrast to the position of top foreign policy aides, who have pushed to maintain punishing sanctions that they believe have pressured North Korea to negotiate.

Mr. Kim has found an eager partner in Mr. Moon. Since he assumed office in May 2017, Mr. Moon has made removing the threat of war and improving relations with the North his top policy goals. Recently he set forth a vision for connecting the two Koreas’ economies.

American officials, mindful of North Korea’s past failures to honor promises, are insisting that North Korea move quickly toward denuclearization by submitting an inventory of its nuclear weapons and fissile materials. But North Korea insists on denuclearizing “in phases” and has demanded that Washington first take steps to prove no hostile intent.

In Pyongyang this week, Mr. Moon again played mediator, trying to narrow the differences between North Korea and the United States, and working toward a second meeting between Mr. Kim and Mr. Trump.

Seizing on Mr. Moon’s efforts, Mr. Kim gave the South Korean leader a warm welcome, mobilizing an estimated 100,000 North Koreans shouting “Reunification of the fatherland!” to greet their motorcade. At Mr. Kim’s suggestion, the two leaders plan on Thursday to visit Mount Baekdu near the China border, considered the spiritual home of all Koreans.

Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2018/09/19/world/asia/north-south-korea-nuclear-weapons.html

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