US, South Korea to hold talks on North’s denuclearization

Kim Jong-un led the testing of a newly developed tactical weapon last month

Kim Jong-un led the testing of a newly developed tactical weapon last month Credit KCNA Reuters

However, ongoing activity at the sites feeds into USA criticisms that North Korea is now dragging its heels over the denuclearization process.

Kim, a member of the Korean Workers' Party's central committee who reportedly died Monday at the age of 98, was also a member of the Supreme People's Assembly.

North Korea's foreign minister arrived in key ally China on Thursday for talks amid stalled efforts to persuade his government to dismantle its nuclear weapons programs.

The North Korea official "achieved a self-reliant military line and actively contributed to the modernization of North Korea's defense industry", Choe said.

"Whatever Kim says about his desire for denuclearization, North Korea continues to produce and deploy nuclear armed missiles", he told CNN.

North Korea media reported Kim died of a chronic disease.

Following the recent G-20 meeting in Argentina, South Korean Moon Jae-in told reporters that Trump has "very favorable" views toward Kim and that he "likes him".

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In his meeting with Trump, Kim made a vague pledge to "work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" in return for "new" relations and security guarantees from Washington.

North Korea insists on taking steps toward denuclearization only if Washington takes "simultaneous" reciprocal actions, such as easing sanctions.

Some analysts say the activity is geared toward the continual development of nuclear-capable intercontinental ballistic missiles that could reach the USA mainland.

Bolton's comments Tuesday underscored the lack of progress the U.S. has made in moving North Korea closer to the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization Washington is seeking, and the concessions it has been making to Pyongyang, even as Trump has stressed the warmth of his relationship with Kim. Analysts said that by relaxing its demands ahead of a second summit, the U.S. may have blinked first.

Despite that site being known to the US intelligence community, images show in the past year, North Korea has significantly expanded to a nearby base. Despite summit talks on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula, satellite footage showed that Pyongyang was continuing its missile program.

"There are five entrances to underground tunnels that may be used to store missiles", the report states. "The layout of the new buildings bears a significant resemblance to the older headquarters area at Yeongjeo-dong".

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