North Korea's condemnation of Trump's hawkish national security adviser, John Bolton, for proposing that North Korea should emulate Libya by abandoning its program of weapons of mass destruction was believed meant to sow divisions within the administration.
"It was clear from the start that North Korea would treat the inter-Korean summit differently from its meeting with the U.S.", said Anwita Basu, an analyst with the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). "With hawkish players leading the USA administration and extreme distrust in North Korea, such hopes might be quickly quashed".
Little has been revealed about the discussions, but Chinese experts who are usually plugged into the government's official positions say it's in China's interest to encourage the U.S. "Moon would try to propose a compromise plan between the USA and North Korea as the latter, unlike its initial promise, appears intent on delaying its denuclearization process and slicing it into several steps".
Speaking aboard Air Force One on his way to Washington ahead of Tuesday's talks between Trump and visiting South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Chung denied a New York Times article claiming the American leader is having second thoughts about meeting Kim. Such an agreement could provide Kim more assurances that his leadership would be secure.
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All the tunnels at the test site will be destroyed by explosions and the surrounding area will be completely closed, North Korea's Foreign Ministry was quoted by the country's official media as saying earlier this month.
The North Koreans also seemed particularly upset by Bolton, who called on them to do what Libya did more than a decade ago. The South's Yonhap news agency reported the North refused to accept a list of the reporters on Monday, making it "technically hard' for the South Korean media to join the event".
The administration is also struggling to reconcile its objectives with those of its regional allies, South Korea and Japan.
In 2008 the regime blew up a cooling tower of its atomic reactor at Yongbyon, the facility that produced the plutonium that allowed North Korea to carry out its first successful nuclear test.
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In the United States, Trump's approval ratings have been fairly low for much of his presidency. It is also unusual that Trump and Bolton do not seem to understand that, by raking up the "Libya model", they are undermining the prospect of a North Korea deal.
Others play down concerns about Mr Bolton, noting that he is in frequent contact with his South Korean counterpart. This would be with Kim Jong-un - something where he'd be there, he'd be in his country, he'd be running his country. "He will follow President Trump's lead". "He's said 'I will sit down personally to avoid a war with North Korea, I'm going to get out of a bad deal with Iran to get a better deal'".
Trump said North Korea would never be overthrown by western powers, as Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi was in 2011, if it agreed to give up its nuclear weapons. "Our interpretation of the exact same words changed", he said.
The planned destruction of the test site, in Wonsan, represents denuclearization North Korea's way, meaning it isn't permanent, verifiable, irreversible, or complete.
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"But Trump will have no other choice".
DPRK is short for the Democratic People's Republic of Korea, the North's official name. "I don't like that", Trump said. "That's Trump's negotiation strategy".
"There are some arguments describing the improvement of the situation on the Korean Peninsula as "result of hard-line diplomacy" of the US and 'result of sustained pressure, '" said another, by the official KCNA news agency. The report on North Korea's military capabilities was based on an assessment of developments in 2017 and was provided to Congress in April.
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