Moon Meets With Trump Amid Fears For US-North Korea Summit

Reporters from China, the United States and Russian Federation departed on a charter flight from Beijing on Tuesday for the North Korean city of Wonsan.

The North announced last month that it would destroy the site in the north-east by blowing up the access tunnels, an announcement welcomed by Washington and Seoul.

The newspaper reiterated harsh criticism against Max Thunder, denouncing the exercise as a practice for a pre-emptive airstrike. North Korea has always justified its nuclear programme as a deterrent against perceived USA hostility. The Kim dynasty has ruled North Korea since the country's inception following the armistice in 1953.

To date, North Korea has taken few concrete steps beyond halting the nuclear and missile tests that ratcheted up tensions previous year. "The North Korean military, the General Staff Department, the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces, as well as the entire North Korean people, they are all potential enemies".

National security adviser John Bolton, who has been outspoken in his hawkish views toward North Korea, drew Pyongyang's ire when he suggested Trump use a so-called "Libya model" to rid the country of its nuclear weapons.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says the United States is prepared to walk away from negotiations with North Korea if upcoming talks on its nuclear weapons program head in the wrong direction. It has also criticised the Max Thunder drills.

The foreign journalists invited by North Korea left for the test site in the evening on a special train from the country's eastern coastal city of Wonsan, according to the official China Central Television.

The decision about whether the June 12 meeting in Singapore between Kim and President Donald Trump happens is "ultimately up to Chairman Kim", Pompeo told the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

North Korea abruptly postponed high-level inter-Korean talks on May 16 - just hours before the meeting was scheduled to take place.

President Donald Trump says he will know next week whether his planned summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is still on, as his administration looks to keep the historic meeting on track.

President Trump said the U.S. would know next week if a summit would take place.

Trump made the comments on the same day he hosted South Korean president Moon Jae-in at the White House on May 21.

Talks between the Koreas will likely resume after Friday, once Max Thunder finishes, said Moon's media secretary, Yoon Young-chan.

Citing sources familiar with the preparations, The Washington Post reported Tuesday that Kim was less concerned about meeting Trump than he was about what might happen at home in Pyongyang while he's gone.

North Korea has rejected unilateral disarmament and given no indication it is willing to go beyond statements of broad support for the concept of universal denuclearization. "North Korea (DPRK) summit will truly be successful and whether the complete denuclearization of North Korea (DPRK) will be realized", he said.

Both parties to the talks are invested in holding the meeting, with Kim seeing an opportunity for worldwide legitimacy and Trump the prospect of securing Korean stability - and perhaps a Nobel Peace Prize. North Korea abruptly canceled talks with South Korea last week and threatened to call of the summit in a dispute over the pace and scope of any "denuclearization" deal.

  • Gwendolyn Kim