USA offers to help rebuild North Korea economy

Leslie Hanson
May 15, 2018

Kang praised the upcoming meeting between Trump and Kim in Singapore as an "historic" opportunity, but added a few notes of skepticism as well.

"South and North Korea confirmed the common goal of realizing, through complete denuclearization, a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula".

CNN reported Wednesday that administration officials have been instructed to move forward with plans to convene that meeting in Singapore, according to two people familiar with the plans.

"We've picked a time". "I really think he wants to do something and bring that country into the real world". Singapore has had diplomatic ties with North Korea since 1975 and the hermit kingdom has an embassy in Singapore. But the Southeast Asian nation also took part in the global community's sanctions on Pyongyang for its nuclear and missile provocations. However, both were given the thumbs down and it boiled down to Singapore, which is easily reachable from North Korea. Destination: Pyongyang, capital of the most reclusive nation on Earth. It has been used for key summits in the past.

Other locations had been under discussion, including Mongolia and the Korean demilitarized zone (DMZ), but experts said Singapore's neutral but opulent setting was likely to work in its favor. Current South Korean President Moon Jae-in, they say, has sidelined human rights issues as he reaches out to the North.

Joking with reporters, Trump said the three men's arrivals had probably broken "the all time in history television rating for three in the morning".

But White House officials opposed the idea as it could put undue emphasis on South Korea. They were released Wednesday by North Korea.

Critics say Trump sometimes focuses on bold gestures first - and fallout later.

When Trump withdrew from the Paris climate agreement, he left the door open for renegotiating a new deal more favorable to the U.S. nearly a year later, there has been no renegotiation.

In 2015, Singapore it was the site of another unprecedented summit between two leaders burdened with a legacy of mutual distrust: Chinese President Xi Jinping and rival Taiwan's then-President Ma Ying-jeou, the first such meeting since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

As he welcomed home three Americans who had been detained in North Korea, Trump early Thursday used a televised, middle-of-the-night ceremony to play up both his statecraft and stagecraft. For the sake of public opinion in South Korea, he will have to chart a course between upholding the spirit of the inter-Korean summit and not giving in on sanctions relief. "He, likewise, has been incredibly helpful".

Tony Kim's family said in a statement that "we thank God for Tony's safe return. So, I don't want to get ahead of anything more specific".

But for Mr Trump and Kim, Singapore is a convenient venue precisely because it "doesn't have the historical or political baggage", said Sarah Teo, an associate research fellow at RSIS's regional security architecture programme. We have a month and several days. About 10 minutes later, a North Korean emissary arrived to give him the good news: The three Americans were being released. The city-state, under pressure from the USA and a leaked United Nations report, officially cut off trade relations with North Korea in 2017 to abide by sanctions.

The chief US diplomat is also on a mission, hoping to secure the release of three Americans detained by Pyongyang.

It was Mr Pompeo's second visit to North Korea this week that pushed through the release.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo retrieved the men during a trip to Pyongyang to finalize the details of the summit.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha in Washington.

When Trump and Kim do sit down a month from now, the two relatively untested leaders will be presented with a puzzle that has stymied seasoned diplomats for decades. You may soon be going to a country for which ordinary US passports are not valid for travel. "North Korea summit" and the denuclearization of North Korea.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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