U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson drew a distinction Friday between "talks" with North Korea and "negotiations", arguing that President Donald Trump's willingness to chat with Kim Jong Un shouldn't be construed as anything more than that.
It would be easy to forget amid North Korea's masterful handling of the news agenda in the first months of 2018 that the country has repeatedly defied United Nations resolutions on its nuclear and ballistic missile programmes, been blamed for last year's murder of the Supreme Leader's half-brother Kim Jong-nam in Malaysia, and accused of launching cyber-attacks in order to raise foreign currency. Pyongyang's oft-stated demands include an end to sanctions, the removal of American troops from South Korea and the replacement of the Korean War armistice with a formal peace treaty.
In 2000, Marshal Jo Myong Rok, a powerful figure in the North Korean armed forces, became the first and most senior North Korean official to visit the White House and meet a USA president, then Bill Clinton.
Chung had recently returned from Pyongyang, where he met Kim personally.
"He expressed his eagerness to meet with President Trump as soon as possible".
He declined to say whether there had been direct communication between Beijing and Washington since Trump agreed to the summit, saying only that communication channels were open and smooth. Chung read from a statement indicating Kim Jong-un has reversed his position, "He [Kim Jong-un] understands that the routine joint military exercises between the Republic of Korea and the United States must continue".
South Korean President Moon has been pushing hard for a rapprochement with Pyongyang since he came into office in 2017.
As the world grew alarmed, disarmament talks intensified, and North Korea eventually moved in 2008 to destroy its Yongbyon nuclear reactor as a sign of goodwill.
On the other hand, Kim Jong-un dropped his precondition for the meeting.
September 3: North Korea carries out its sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date, saying it was a hydrogen bomb designed for use on ICBMs.
As U.S. -South Korean talks got under way, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters: "We will see what comes out of that meeting today and we may have announcements at some point".
But the proposed negotiations, however useful, are unlikely to result in North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un giving up his nuclear weapons.
January 1, 2018: Kim says in his New Year's address that he has a nuclear button on his desk, but also calls for improved relations with South Korea and suggests sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.
Analysts noted that the Kim dynasty has always been looking for a summit with the American president as a symbol of equality with another nuclear power.
But the current White House insisted there would be no relief for North Korea from sanctions and denuclearization - and not just a temporary stand-down - was the eventual goal.
Analysts say North Korea has been seeking a summit with American leaders as a way to secure worldwide legitimacy, something that has prevented past USA administration's from taking Pyongyang up on its invitations. -North Korea meeting, while also warning against any softening of USA policy and against any overly optimistic expectations. As has been repeatedly noted by the MSM, this face-to-face meeting would be a first for a sitting US president.
"If you do that, it will be the end of you - and your regime", Graham said.
"It does", the former Obama administration national security official stated when asked by host Erin Burnett if this moment felt different compared to past dealings with North Korea.