Trump says he is weighing options for North Korea meeting

The White House released photos of new U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shaking hands with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, marking the highest-ranking U.S. official to visit the pariah nation since 2000. It is premature to make unsubstantiated claims that the North Korean leader might not keep his end of the bargain.

Kim and Moon will be enjoying each other's company in the jointly controlled village of Panmunjom near the spot where a defecting North Korean soldier recently fled south in a hail of bullets fired by his former comrades.

It was all smiles on Friday as Moon grasped Kim's hand and led him along a red carpet into South Korean territory, where school children placed flowers around their necks and an honor guard stood at attention for inspection.

US intelligence experts are trying to build a profile of Kim Jong Un to give President Donald Trump a competitive edge in one of the most consequential summits since the Cold War, but they face a huge challenge - figuring out a secretive North Korean ruler few people know much about. Roh went to Pyongyang after crossing the Demilitarized Zone in a symbolic moment that grabbed worldwide headlines.

South Korean honour guards will then escort the leaders to a welcome ceremony at a plaza in Panmunjom, a military compound in the demilitarised zone (DMZ) between the two countries. And it seems especially apt as President Donald Trump prepares to meet North Korean President Kim Jong Un.

As the Washington Post's David Nakamura noted, the North Korean leader "is racking up the photos with global leaders" - a show of power that has been a "goal" of his family's regime. The decision to go south, a bid to ease inter-Korean friction, followed the near total absence of North Korean outreach for more than seven years.

It says he is to talk "open-heartedly" with Moon on improving inter-Korean relations and achieving peace, prosperity, and reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

The Blue House and the White House security advisors also discussed situations after the inter-Korean summit.

Before his departure, a smiling Moon stopped to greet supporters and thank police officers.

Kim Hyun-wook, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, told AFP that the issue was "not something that can be decided between the North and South".

Asked about his praise of Kim during a news conference Tuesday, Trump defended his North Korea strategy, professing that "a lot is happening right now, and I think it's going to be very positive".

The sudden turn of events, after almost reaching the brink of war past year, has many wondering what North Korea wants in return for its pragmatic approach now.

Its actions sent tensions soaring as Kim and Trump traded personal insults and threats of war.

But at the same time, the report noted the North Korean arsenal is a "powerful treasured sword for defending peace" and a "firm guarantee" for future generations to "enjoy the most dignified and happiest life in the world". The move was welcomed by the United States and South Korea as a positive step, although Chinese researchers have indicated that North Korea's nuclear test site may be unusable after a rock collapse following its last test in September. Every past nominee to get a roll call vote since at least the Carter administration received 85 or more yes votes in the Senate, with the exception of Trump's first secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who got 56.

  • Joey Payne