Donald Trump sees 'tremendous progress' in North Korea

South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un shake hands after holding a joint press conference in Pyongyang on Sept. 19 2018 to announce the outcome of their bilateral summit that began the previous day. (Joint Press Corps

North Korea pledges to close down key missile test site

South Korean President Moon Jae-in says North Korean leader Kim Jong Un hopes to meet again with United States President Donald Trump.

"The North Koreans are in the game to get, not to give", Daniel Russel, a former United States senior diplomat for East Asia, told Reuters news agency in July.

"A peace treaty would be sealed, as well as normalisation of North Korea-US relations, after the North achieves complete denuclearisation".

Kim pledged to work toward the "complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula" during two meetings with Moon and his encounter with Trump, but follow-up negotiations on how to implement the vague commitments have since faltered.

Trump responded to news from the summit by saying he was "very excited", while Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States was "prepared to engage immediately" with North Korea to move dialogue ahead.

Historians say the 5,000-year timeline of Korean history is a groundless claim that became part of South Korea's official narrative after being inserted in school textbooks during the rule of former dictator Chun Doo-hwan. The 1950-53 war still technically continues because it ended with a cease-fire, not a peace treaty.

An end-of-war declaration would not affect the presence of USA troops and the United Nations Command in South Korea, Moon said, adding that Kim shared his view.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in are visiting a volcano the North considers sacred on the last day of Moon's visit.

Moon said North Korea's agreement to allow global experts to observe a "permanent" dismantling of a missile engine test site and launch pad was the same thing as a commitment to "verifiably and irreversibly" demolish those facilities. The leaders rode together in a cable auto to reach the lake.

Pictures showed Moon and Kim smiling and posing with their wives, and Moon filling a bottle with water from the lake. The mountain is also emblazoned on the national emblem and lends its name to everything from rockets to power stations. It also holds importance to both countries as the birthplace of the storied ruler of the first kingdom of Korea. Not everyone was pleased, though.

According to the New York Times, the two heads of state met on Wednesday, with North Korean officials and citizens lining the streets and waving flags supporting unity on the East Asian peninsula.

He made the announcement at the press briefing that followed the signing of the Pyeongyang Joint Agreement on Wednesday.

"I have a dream that I have not been able to fulfil for a long time, which is trekking Mount Paektu and the Kaema Plateau [in North Korea]", Moon said during a banquet after his first summit with Kim in April, which took place at the demilitarised zone separating the two neighbours.

However, while containing several tantalizing offers, it appears to fall short of the major steps many in Washington had been looking for - such as a commitment by Pyongyang to provide a list of the North's nuclear facilities, a solid step-by-step time line or an agreement to allow global inspectors in to assess progress or discover contraventions.

"We're making tremendous progress with respect to North Korea".

Agreeing to a declaration on ending the Korean War before North Korea has reduced its offensive threat - including the thousands of artillery guns it has trained on USA ally South Korea - is opposed by many who fear that the North is maneuvering to win a withdrawal of the almost 30,000 US forces in the South.

In this image made from video by North Korea's KRT, July 28, 2017, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un gestures at the site of a missile test at an undisclosed location in North Korea. "The road to our future will not always be smooth, and we may face challenges and trials we can't anticipate, but we aren't afraid of headwinds because our strength will grow as we overcome each trial based on the strength of our nation".

Asked why this detail was not in the document signed by Moon and Kim, Nauert replied: "We have had conversations. with the government of North Korea and that is our mutual understanding; that is also the understanding between (South) Korea and North Korea. I'm calm. So we'll see what happens", he said.

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