Wednesday, 18 July, 2018

As Mike Pompeo visits Pyongyang, South Korea quietly watches - and worries

Yonhap  EPA  REX  Shutterstock Yonhap EPA REX Shutterstock
Ray Hunter | 07 July, 2018, 03:22

The CD, which includes Elton John's hit single Rocket Man, will be presented by U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo to Kim along with a letter written by Trump, according to reports from South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo.

At least, that's what appears to be the reason behind a gift Trump is reportedly giving Kim, to be delivered via Secretary of State Mike Pompeo while he's in North Korea this week: a CD with Elton John's song "Rocket Man", per the Chosun Ilbo's sources.

It was not clear if Pompeo would meet directly with Kim Jong Un, as he had done previously.

An underwater test-firing of a submarine ballistic missile shown in an undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency on April 24, 2016.

Despite reports that North Korea has actually continued to expand facilities related to the nuclear programs during the weeks since the Singapore summit, Mr. Trump has remained upbeat about the prospects for a breakthrough.

Speaking aboard Air Force One on a trip to Montana, Trump said he believed he forged a personal connection with the young autocrat he once pilloried as "Little Rocket Man".

"The more we meet, the deeper our friendship will be, I hope", he said.

Gifts aside, Pompeo's spokeswoman Heather Nauert said he will seek "to fill in some details" on North Korea's commitment to give up nuclear weapons.

Both issues are considered essential tests of whether Kim is serious about negotiations.

Sen. Cantwell weighs in on SCOTUS pick
Trump is expected to announce his pick from the list, which now comprises over 25 judges from across the country, on July 9. On Monday, Trump interviewed federal appeals judges Raymond Kethledge, Amul Thapar, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett.

Cho and his North Korean counterpart Ri Son Gwon watched the women's match that started at around 3:30 pm (0630 GMT) at the 12,000-seat Ryugyong Chung Ju-Yung Gymnasium, pool reports said.

"Goodwill gestures between the Koreas can be compared to rocking back and forth in a rocking chair - it feels good, but you aren't really moving forward", said Bong Young-shik, a North Korea expert at Yonsei University in Seoul.

North Korea has yet to deliver these remains or provide evidence of further denuclearization steps taken following the summit.

The criticism, published on North Korea's government-run Uriminzokkiri website, said Washington should stop provoking the North with an "anachronistic human rights racket" at a time of diplomatic attempts to improve ties.

A day after the summit, Trump announced that the US was canceling joint military exercises with South Korea that the North has traditionally called practice for an invasion.

Chosun Ilbo, citing unnamed Washington sources, said the "Rocket Man" CD was a gift for Kim Jong Un - a reference to Trump's "Little Rocket Man" jibe of previous year.

But following talks on Sunday between US envoy Sung Kimand North Korean counterparts, this "CVID" language appears to have disappeared from the State Department lexicon.

"How do North Korea and the United States begin peace talks without this war weapon being removed?", Lee told Reuters at his farm while his aged mother packed boxes of yellow melons.

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