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North and South Korea Announce Historic Summit: How It Could Affect Trump-Kim Talks

03-29-2018
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The leaders of North and South Korea will meet on April 27 and the key topic is denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the South announced Thursday.

"Both sides agreed to prepare for (the summit) in a way that would allow sincere and heartfelt discussions (between the leaders)," Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon, one of three South Korean participants in Thursday's talks, told reporters.

"If there's a need, we decided to continue discussions on the summit agenda through follow-up high-level meetings in April," Cho said.

"Both sides will continue working-level discussions (on the agenda) while focusing on the issues surrounding the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, the stabilization of peace and the development of relations between the South and North."

The news comes one day after North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un's surprise visit to China.

The two-day secret meeting between the nations' leaders could lead to another seat at the table when President Donald Trump sits down to talk with Kim during an upcoming US-North Korea summit.

China brings some extra clout after Chinese President Xi Jinping announced North Korea's commitment to denuclearization. Both are signals to the American president that the young reclusive dictator has the support of China, the most formidable power in the region.

The North's commitment to stand down on nukes follows a busy year of a combined 17 full-flight missile tests last year, including one last September in which North Korea upped its game with its sixth and largest nuclear test to date.

That show of force, followed by a surprise olive branch, led many observers to question North Korean motives.

Possible scenarios included everything from the regime wanting to show it's achieved full nuclear capability to it buckling under pressure from Trump's tough economic sanctions.

Regardless, experts are calling for the US to pursue a specific goal.

"This first meeting should be keenly focused on the actual steps that North Korea will take to denuclearize and end its ballistic missile program," said retired Army Col. Scott Lingamfelter.

He says the United States should only move forward with talks if North Korea proves it is serious about meeting that demand.

The former commander, who served in South Korea, says Kim must be open to inspections and physically turning over rocket pieces – otherwise, no deal with the United States.

"He can't be trusted," Lingamfelter warned. "He has absolutely no record, nor did his father or grandfather have any record of reliability when it comes to negotiating with the West in the six power talks. His father walked away."

North Korea defense experts say the US should not offer anything like oil, food or money to bring North Korea to the table.

"Back in 2009 the North Koreans actually asked the South Koreans for $10 billion to have a summit," Harry Kazianis, director of defense studies for the Center for the National Interest, recalled. "The South Koreans said no, but this is where it could potentially go."

If this denuclearization goal were to be reached, Kazianis warns the US would still have a long way to go in Asia.

"We have to remember the long-term threat the United States faces. North Korea is part of that, but China is a bigger threat," he said.

Whether it's economics or military force, he says problems with Kim have forced the US to put China on the back burner.

Just in case things go do not improve, Pentagon top brass tell CBN News that US military strength will soon be on display once again in the air and water off the Korean Peninsula.

As President Trump said, if threats continue, North Korea "will be met with fire and fury the likes of which the world has never seen."

Meanwhile, the Japanese government is arranging a summit between Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Trump to exchange views on recent developments involving North Korea.

Japan hopes to have Abe meet Trump on April 18 in Florida to reaffirm the close Japan-US partnership ahead of the first-ever US-North Korea summit.

This will be Abe's sixth meeting with Trump

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