Published On: Thu, Apr 18th, 2019

North Korea news: Kim Jong-Un set to meet Putin amid Pompeo row and new nuclear tests | World | News

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Tensions have surfaced in recent days over efforts by US President Donald Trump’s administration to reach a deal with Kim to end nuclear tensions on the Korean peninsula. North Korea said on Thursday it was no longer prepared to negotiate with and called for him to be replaced in talks by somebody more mature. The demand came hours after Pyongyang announced its first weapons test since the last summit between Trump and Kim in Vietnam in February broke down with no agreement.

The pro-Kremlin Izvestia newspaper cited a diplomatic source on Wednesday as saying the Putin-Kim meeting would likely take place next week in Russia’s Far Eastern city of Vladivostok before flies on to an April 26-27 summit in China.

It added though that a sudden change of plan by the leader of the secretive North Korean state could not be ruled out.

The Kremlin gave no further details in a statement on its website, but Moscow has been saying for months that it was working on such a meeting. 

It was not clear how Kim might travel to the summit.

A North Korean official, Kim Chang Son, traveled to Vladivostok this week and was seen on Wednesday inspecting the Pacific city’s train station and making security checks, Russia’s RIA news agency reported on Thursday.

US Special Representative for North Korea was due in Moscow on Wednesday and Thursday to meet Russian officials to discuss ways to advance a “final, fully verified denuclearisation of North Korea”, Washington said on Tuesday.

The Trump-Kim meeting in Vietnam, the second summit between the two leaders, broke down over conflicting demands by North Korea for sanctions relief and by the United States for North Korea to abandon its nuclear programme. 

The following month Washington imposed a new round of sanctions on Pyongyang.

Trump administration officials have floated the possibility of a third summit.

In an article written for the Institute for International Strategic Studies last month, research associate Nevine Schepers suggested Mr Trump needed to authorise Mr Biegun, not Mr Pompeo, to take the lead in future negotiations.

She wrote: “While has expressed a hope that both negotiating teams ‘will get back together in the days and weeks ahead’, no date has yet been set, citing the need to ‘regroup a little bit’. 

“Ensuring the continuation of working-level talks will be crucial to making any concrete and verifiable progress in the coming months and years. 

“Trump will need to clarify Biegun’s position as lead negotiator and main interlocutor with the North Koreans, who will otherwise continue to believe they can get more concessions by engaging with Trump directly.

“Negotiations could yield positive results if the US takes a step-by-step approach, rather than an ‘all or nothing’ strategy. 

“Confidence-building measures such as a carefully crafted end-of-war declaration, the setting up of a liaison office in Pyongyang in exchange for a codified test freeze and inspections at would represent important steps forward.

“These should not be stand-alone measures, however. They should instead be part of a larger framework of measures leading to the verifiable dismantlement of North Korea’s nuclear and missile programmes.”

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