Why Americans should care about North Korea

Why Americans should care about North Korea

Why Americans should care about North Korea

Are U.S. officials being played like the proverbial violin by North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un?

Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo, U.S. President Donald Trump's nominee to become the top U.S. diplomat, visited North Korea last week and met leader Kim Jong Un with whom he formed a "good relationship", Trump said on Wednesday.

The direct hotline was established between Seoul's Presidential office Cheong Wa Dae and the office of North Korea's State Affairs Commission, headed by Kim, Yonhap news reported.

It was Trump's position even on the campaign trail that maintaining so many troops and bases in South Korea was costing the USA too much.

Yet, for Washington and Pyongyang, there's a list of other potential goals that could be accomplished through their meeting, including a lasting agreement to end the nearly 70-year state of war on the Korean Peninsula.

While South Korean and USA officials have said Kim is likely trying to save his broken economy from heavy sanctions, some analysts see him as entering the negotiations from a position of strength after having declared his nuclear force as complete.

The commitment to denuclearize while allowing USA forces to remain, conveyed via a South Korean leader who has prioritized better relations with the North, continued diplomatic maneuvering ahead of high-stakes talks.

"We still have many obstacles to overcome during the upcoming dialogue".

Some analysts speculated the body would revise Kim's dual "byongjin" policy of pursuing economic and nuclear development before his summits with Moon and Trump.

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Currently, there are 28,500 US troops in South Korea, a move that followed 1950-53 Korean War that ended with an armistice and not a peace treaty.

Now North and South are meeting next week and Kim and US President Donald Trump are expected to hold their first-ever summit in May or June, with denuclearisation the topic of the day.

Pompeo's visit to the North was arranged by South Korean intelligence chief Suh Hoon with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Yong Chol, and was meant to assess whether Kim was prepared to hold serious talks, a US official said.

When North Korean leader Kim Jong Un promised talks on denuclearization in Beijing in March, according to Xinhua, he didn't speak of Pyongyang ending its program.

"Those are the scaffolding that they are building leading up to the North Korea-U.S. summit", Pak said.

Inter-Korean relations have been improving since the North made a decision to take part in the February 9-25 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics hosted by South Korea.

Following the groundbreaking concert, South Korean Culture Minister Do Jong-hwan told CNN that Kim seemed "sincere and genuine" about wanting to improve relations with Seoul.

But Moon signalled that a treaty would depend on the North giving up its nuclear weapons.

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