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Second U.S.-DPRK summit talks to begin this evening

  • February 27, 2019
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All national dailies reported extensively on the arrival of President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Hanoi on Tuesday for their second round of summit talks that are set to begin tonight with a brief one-on-one session followed by a working dinner to be attended by Secretary of State Pompeo and several other officials. While projecting that the DPRK strongman will press the President to relax sanctions by saying that his regime has already taken steps toward denuclearization, the dailies speculated that the U.S. leader appears to be ready to extend rewards on the condition that Chairman Kim pledges additional measures, including suspending activities at the Yongbyon nuclear complex and other relevant facilities and allowing them to be inspected. The rewards that the U.S. might offer reportedly include humanitarian assistance, the establishment of a U.S. liaison office in the DPRK capital, and a political declaration on ending the Korean War. Instead of easing existing restrictions on trade with Pyongyang, the President may reportedly agree to the resumption of operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex and South Korean tourism at Mt. Kumgang. The papers expressed apprehension that such concessions could weaken international pressure and thus allow the Kim regime to procrastinate on denuclearization.

 

Sankei wrote that Secretary Pompeo will probably take the “lead” in assisting the President in the talks with Chairman Kim, adding that it is uncertain whether National Security Advisor Bolton, who the daily referred to as a “hardliner” toward the DPRK, will sit in on the summit. Nikkei claimed that upon conclusion of the summit, the two governments may issue a joint communique detailing what was agreed upon between the two leaders, speculating that final coordination may take place between Secretary Pompeo and his DPRK counterpart Kim Yong Chol about the wording of the purported document. Mainichi conjectured that on his way back to Pyongyang, Chairman Kim may visit Beijing to brief President Xi on his discussions with President Trump.

 

In a related story, Yomiuri reported from Washington on a meeting on Monday between Prime Minister Abe’s Special Advisor Sonoura and Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Hale during which the Japanese official asked that President Trump bring up the abduction issue during talks with Chairman Kim. According to Sonoura, Hale said Washington understands the importance of the matter and indicated that the President will brief Prime Minister Abe directly about the U.S.-DPRK summit. 

 

NHK reported this morning that the Foreign Ministry is sending Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau chief Kanasugi to Hanoi to gather information and ensure close coordination between Japan and the U.S.

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