North Korea to make a show of nuclear test site shutdown

North Korea summit: Pence warns Kim Jong-un not to 'play Trump'

South Korea anxious about Kim's bellicose weapons testing and Trump's similarly bellicose warnings about a looming war, was instrumental in convincing the two Cold War foes to sit down and talk.

"For Moon, it's mission impossible", Kazianis said.

USA officials said preparations for the summit were still underway despite recent pessimism - and privately suggested there would be additional public maneuvering as both sides seek to maximize their leverage.

Trump, who has pitched himself as the ultimate negotiator, has focused on ambitious deals as president but has struggled with the fine print. But he added that as of now, "we're driving on".

The South Korean national security adviser said the main objective of the ROK-U.S. meeting was to exchanges views on how to manage the situation in the days and weeks after the Kim-Trump summit, and that it would involve a one-on-one meeting between the two leaders.

Trump responded by saying the meeting may or may not take place. "We saw them in ways we had never seen before".

This is apparent from Pyongyang's change of tone, including new warnings to the US and South Korea, thereby undercutting the White House hype over the forthcoming Trump-Kim summit in Singapore.

In this May 9, 2018, file photo provided by the North Korean government, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un during a meeting in Pyongyang, North Korea.

Moon sought to project optimism after his meeting with Trump.

"There is absolutely no inevitable contradiction between these two", Lu told reporters.

Moon Jae-in jets into Washington on a mission to salvage a rare diplomatic opening between the United States and North Korea that is in trouble nearly before it begins. High-level talks between the North and South would likely happen after June 25.

But the two leaders are coming at that shared goal from much different political positions: While Trump's approval numbers are mired in the low 40s, Moon's approval stands at 75 percent of South Koreans, according to one poll published last week. Trump said he'd noticed "a little change" in Kim's attitude after the trip. "The hawks on both sides can say 'I told you so'".

Pyongyang has recently taken a much more aggressive line with South Korea and the US.

"I will guarantee his safety, yes", Trump said, noting that promise was conditioned on an agreement to complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization.

At a time when even U.S. allies are finding it hard to rely on an unpredictable and capricious Trump administration, Kim's strategy will likely seek to safeguard his nuclear "crown jewels" until a comprehensive peace and denuclearization accord is reached - an agreement he wants with reciprocal obligations, including South Korea coming out of the U.S. nuclear umbrella and the U.S., China and Russian Federation committing not to introduce or threaten to use nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula.

The first big test of whether things are truly off track will come this week, when North Korea is due to destroy the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, in full view of global observers and journalists. In the second May 16 statement, North Korea said that Bolton's demands are a threat to North Korea's safety and that it's not interested in "unilateral nuclear abandonment". It also claimed any issue about human rights abuses in North Korea was "non-existent". It was posted online by an anti-secrecy group.

Going into the North Korea meeting, senior administration officials say, the president has been nearly singularly focused on the pageantry of the summit -including the suspenseful roll-out of details.

The back of the coin features a picture of the White House, Air Force One and the presidential seal. While the North has demonstrated beyond a doubt that it can produce viable, high-yield nuclear weapons, many experts believe it could still benefit considerably by conducting more tests. They were not authorized to speak publicly. Asked whether Trump was willing to abandon the summit if his terms aren't met, Pence said "there's no question".

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