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S Korea's Moon says sanctions stay, too early to be optimistic

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An intercontinental ballistic missile on display at a North Korean military parade in Pyongyang on Feb. 2

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has never travelled overseas as his country's supreme leader and until last few days, his close encounters with foreign guests had been limited to dignitaries from China, Cuba and Syria; so when a delegation of South Korean officials arrived to visit they did not know what to expect from him, a 34-year-old with a nuclear arsenal, who has remained an enigma even as his weapons tests have terrified the world.

Chung Eui-yong, the Blue House's chief national security officer, and spy agency head Suh Hoon will meet their USA counterparts, National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster and CIA Director Mike Pompeo during a four-day visit.

A senior US administration official said no decision on the possibility of the United States joining a summit of North and South Korea was expected to be made at this week's meeting with McMaster.

Earlier this week, South Korean envoys met with Supreme Leader of North Korea Kim Jong-un to inform him they are unable to postpone military drills past April.

China's foreign minister Wang Yi called on the United States and North Korea on Thursday (March 8) to have talks as soon as possible and said peace must prevail, amid signs of easing tension over North Korea's nuclear and missile threats. We don't aim for that to happen and it's also impossible, " Moon said.

But according to a senior official at the South's presidential office, Kim said during Monday's meeting he would "understand" if Seoul goes ahead with the delayed exercises.

The South Korean delegation also said they would convey an "additional" undisclosed message from the North Korean regime to Washington. Up until now, they have kept the stance that their nuclear weapons program would never be up for debate.

Katsuyuki Kawai, an adviser to Abe who is in Washington this week, told Reuters before departure that there is a huge need to reinforce the alliance and trilateral coordination among the United States, Japan and South Korea.

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One person who would be sure to play an important role in any discussions would be the ambassador to South Korea from the United States.

Former officials say that the administration has spent a lot of time preparing sanctions and contingency planning for military action, but little or no time planning a negotiating strategy for use if Pyongyang entered serious talks. He added that he hoped the United States and North Korea could pursue a "very, very peaceful, attractive path" together and praised North Korea's presence at the Winter Olympics as "terrific".

"All options are on the table and our posture toward the regime will not change until we see credible, verifiable, and concrete steps toward denuclearization".

The two Koreas also announced they would set up a leader-to-leader hotline and hold a summit next month at their heavily armed border.

As the tweets rise in comments, the world can't help but wonder what is going to take place between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un Will Donald Trump be able to gain enough courage to attempt this meeting? George W. Bush interrupted any hopes of progress when he included North Korea in his "axis of evil" along with Iran and Iraq.

U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was guarded when asked on Wednesday about the prospect of North Korean engagement.

"That's far from the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearisation that the United States expects", Koh added.

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