Kim summit a chance to showcase Vietnam’s development model: PM

13 February, 2019, 19:10 | Author: Sheila Harris
  • The Associated Press

Trump and Kim are set to hold a second summit in Vietnam later this month.

Trump and Kim met in June previous year in a bid to resolve tensions over Pyongyang's nuclear program, and the two signed off on a vaguely-worded document in which Kim pledged to work towards "the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula".

Officials say a jointly-hosted Olympics is an opportunity for sports diplomacy to bring stability to the Korean peninsula, but its feasibility is dependent on North Korea's denuclearization plans, which will be discussed during upcoming talks between Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi.

"It certainly beats the alternative of what we were living with in 2017", Abrams said.

Abrams noted that it had been 440 days since North Korea's last "provocative action" and credited diplomatic efforts and worldwide sanctions for leading to a "significant reduction in tension".

"Having said all that though, we have not observed activity that's consistent with a full-court press on denuclearization", he added.

Despite a reduction in tensions along the DMZ [demilitarized zone] and a cessation of strategic provocations coupled with public statements of intent to denuclearize little to no verifiable change has occurred in North Korea's military capabilities.

"We have observed no significant changes to the size, scope, or timing of their ongoing exercises", Abrams said, putting particular emphasis on the word "their".

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The two sides had struggled to reach a breakthrough, despite at least 10 rounds of talks since March, amid Trump's repeated calls for a sharp increase in South Korea's contribution.

North Korea has for decades said the exercises amount to preparation to invade the North - a notion the USA strongly denies.

Abrams downplayed the impact of curbing those high-level exercises on USA and South Korean troops' combat readiness, saying servicemembers have continued to conduct training exercises together on smaller scales. "North Korea today is where China was in 1981".

Many have also expressed worry that Trump may use the upcoming summit to announce a withdrawal or reduction of US troops in South Korea.

The Stanford report said that North Korea was likely to have continued work on warhead miniaturisation and to ensure they can stand up to delivery via intercontinental ballistic missiles.

"We now assess that North Korea ... is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capability because its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival", Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told Congress late last month.

Echoing Davidson, Gen. Abrams - who also serves as the top commander of the United Nations Command and the combined U.S. The new agreement amounts to an increase of about 8 percent. The company was said to be ready to sign a deal with the North as soon as sanctions are lifted, as the food shortage issue is one of North Korea's top priorities.

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