Peace talks commence on Korean peninsula

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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Wednesday he was optimistic his planned visit to Pyongyang this weekend would bring progress towards a second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and in building a path to North Korea's denuclearisation.

Prior to denuclearization, however, Kim wants to secure a joint statement declaring an end to the 1950-1953 Korean War, which was never formally ended with a peace treaty.

"Without any trust in the USA, there will be no confidence in our national security, and under such circumstances there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first".

Pompeo also brushed aside suggestions of differences between himself and Trump over a timeline for North Korea to ditch a nuclear programme that could threaten the United States.

Nauert didn't provide specific details of what Pompeo plans to discuss with the North Korean leader, but she said the meeting will focus on Pyongyang's nuclear capabilities.

The department said Pompeo, after wrapping up his North Korea visit, will come to Seoul, also on Sunday, and brief President Moon Jae-in and Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha about his talks in Pyongyang. North Korea's foreign minister, Ri Yong Ho, told the United Nations last week that "there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first".

The Seoul government earlier said that it does not view the money to be spent on the South Korean delegation's trip to the North as a violation of global sanctions on its regime, though it said that close talks have been under way with the United States on the matter.

North Korea, Lee stressed, was willing to give up its nuclear weapons for peace and prosperity.

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Choe is a veteran diplomat who was once involved in now-stalled multilateral talks on North Korea's denuclearization and represented her country in negotiations with the United States.

Nauert said the meetings in Japan, South Korea and China were meant to brief counterparts on the talks in Pyongyang.

The North's official Korean Central News Agency reported later in a short dispatch that a delegation including Choe left to attend negotiations between North Korea and China in Beijing, negotiations between North Korea and Russian Federation in Moscow as well as negotiations involving all three countries.

President Donald Trump and Kim agreed to denuclearization only in vague terms at their summit in Singapore, the first meeting between leaders of the US and North Korea.

The lawmaker mentioned how the North Korean leadership has "changed" and how the North Korean people were looking forward to "change", adding that those circumstances induced the Democratic Party to feel it isn't long before both Koreas celebrate National Foundation Day together.

Pompeo's trip to China comes at a time of deteriorating relations and tit-for-tat tariffs sparked by Trump's accusations of unfair Chinese trade practices.

"I think the last time things broke down precisely as we were working out a detailed protocol on verification after we had gotten the list", she said.

Trump last week slapped $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods and has accused Beijing of interfering in the upcoming U.S. election because of his hard line on trade.

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