South Korea seizes North Korean paintings due to sanctions

Arturo Kim
January 18, 2019

The US and North Korea plan to hold high-level talks in Washington this week to discuss a second summit of their leaders, following a stalemate in nuclear talks, a South Korean newspaper said yesterday.

The letter delivered over the weekend comes after President Trump said early this month that he had received a "great letter" from Kim and was looking forward to meet the North Korean leader for a second time in the "not-too-distant future".

Amid signs the two sides are close to agreeing to a second summit the newly unveiled Missile Defense Review, which Trump personally introduced at the Pentagon, explicitly states that North Korea remains an "extraordinary threat" to the U.S., an assessment that is consistent with previous findings by USA military and intelligence agencies but rarely acknowledged by Trump himself.

Seoul's Ministry of National Defense on Wednesday said it had asked Tokyo to reveal the frequency of the radar that it claims to have detected so that the two sides can examine the data together in Singapore on Monday at the latest meeting between generals from both sides.

South Korea publishes a defense white paper every other year. North Korea has called the label a provocation that demonstrated Seoul's hostility.

Kim and Trump held a historic meeting in Singapore on June 12 past year where they issued a vague goal for the "complete denuclearisation" of the Korean Peninsula without describing when and how it would occur.

It has always been unclear what else the North is supposed to be given that denuclearization is at the heart of negotiations with the U.S.

Senior diplomats from the two countries sat down for denuclearisation talks in Seoul on Thursday, just as North Korea's top negotiator headed to Washington - via Beijing.

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Kim Yong Chol, a hardline former spy chief, arrived in Washington on a commercial flight from Beijing, South Korea's Yonhap news agency reported.

The move is quite unprecedented as North Korean officials have mostly made stop-overs in NY to visit the mission, when traveling to the U.S.

"Between South Korea and the United States, we are closely consulting what kinds of denuclearisation measures should be followed and what the United States and the global community can do as corresponding measures", she told local media at a New Year's news conference.

The envoy arrived on the same day Mr Trump announced a revamped USA missile defence strategy that singled out North Korea as an ongoing and "extraordinary threat". Trump admitted he agreed on the spot to pause U.S. They point out that North Korea has taken zero steps toward denuclearization and continues to advance its nuclear and missile programs.

Kim Jong Un also said he would be looking to "achieve results" in any talks with Trump when he traveled to China for his fourth summit with President Xi Jinping.

Hopefully, after Kim Yong Chol meets with Trump, the administration will let the rest of us know what the heck is going on and why they believe this roller-coaster, reality-TV-style diplomatic effort has any decent chance of succeeding.

Last week, the United States Forces Japan released a video, in which it defines North Korea as one of the "three declared nuclear states" in the Northeast Asian region, along with Russian Federation and China.

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