South Korea leader sees more obstacles ahead to disarm North Korea

South Korea leader sees more obstacles ahead to disarm North Korea

Chung Eui-yong, head of Seoul's National Security Office, will meet top U.S. officials including National Security Advisor HR McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, Yonhap news agency said.

Chung and Suh will also meet senior USA officials like White House National security advisor H.R. McMaster and Central Intelligence Agency director Mike Pompeo.

Chung will visit China and Russian Federation after returning from the USA, while Suh will head to Japan to brief officials.

Experts say that North Korea could be willing to bring a halt to its development of intercontinental ballistic missiles or free three USA citizens detained in the country.

He says the US and its allies remain committed to applying "maximum pressure" on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to give up his country's nuclear weapons. Kim, Moon and US President Donald Trump stand on the cusp of a historic moment that could change the fate of the Koreas and east Asia by bringing about a lasting peace.

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USA intelligence officials have said Kim is only months away from being able to mount such a strike, while some experts say he may already have the basic capability, even if it remains untested.

The official said the United States is "open-minded and we look forward to hearing more, but the North Koreans have earned our skepticism".

The White House has said its policy of "maximum pressure and engagement" was created to use sanctions to push the regime of Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table to talk about the future of his nuclear weapons programme. It could be that Kim is genuinely keen on dialogue with the United States.

There is an increasingly uncomfortable tension between the strategic objectives of the United States and those of South Korea.

"The main concern is that South Korea may have jumped too easily to a proposal by North Korea for a bilateral meeting", said a former senior Japanese diplomat who declined to be identified because of the sensitivity of the topic. He also is set to travel to the border with South Korea for a summit meeting in late April with the South's president, Moon Jae-in.

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Although the start date has yet to be officially announced, three unidentified U.S. officials have said that the Foal Eagle exercise will begin on March 31 and continue through May.

Kim Jong Un and his family have long known fear is a useful tool, as they have scared their people to death for decades, and the US president has used that terror against him. Moreover, they point out that North Korea has put denuclearization on the table, which is a shift from the position Pyongyang has previously held.

"Right now, it is hard to identify any single individual or team of individuals that has both the negotiating experience and knowledge of the history, the cultural and political sensitivity, and knowledge of how the North Koreans behave and how they see the world", he said.

"Japan's eternal fear is that it will be cut out of negotiations over the state of relations with North Korea", said Brad Glosserman, a visiting professor at Tama University. They further reported that the North was open to negotiations with the United States and could suspend all missile and nuclear tests during this period.

On Tuesday, Chung announced the North Koreans were prepared to discuss denuclearization with the United States as long as their security was assured, prompting tentative optimism in Washington.

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