From threats to peace talks

S. Korea's Spy Chief Meets Japanese Foreign Minister to Brief on N. Korea

Just days after he stood outside the White House and announced the planned meet between the USA president and North Korean leader, Chung Eui-yong was in Beijing to brief China's top diplomat Yang Jiechi on the fast-moving efforts to address the nuclear standoff. Mr Pompeo said USA military exercises in the region would continue in the lead-up to the talks.

A Realmeter poll showed Monday that 73 percent of 500 South Koreans surveyed said they welcomed North Korea's change of attitude.

President Moon's chief envoy praised the role of China and President Xi in nudging North Korea toward denuclearization and getting Pyongyang and Washington to agree to talks. The meeting was supposed to take 15 minutes but went on for an hour.

China was willing to promote the healthy and stable development of North Korea-South Korea relations, Yang said.

Tillerson says nothing has been agreed about the location for the meeting. "I think it's going to be very important that those kind of conversations are held quietly through the two parties". Between 1950 and 1953 the two nations went to war following border incursions by North Korea.

Kim has pushed his isolated nation closer to having a nuclear-tipped missile that can strike the US mainland.

However, it would allow Kim and Trump to meet without travelling far from either of their respective security forces or to be seen kowtowing in an "enemy" capital.

The South Korean government offered up another idea for where the USA and North Korea could hold talks this spring.

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Shah told ABC's "This Week" that the North Koreans "cannot engage in missile testing, they cannot engage in nuclear testing and they can't publicly object to the U.S". North Korea is a dictatorship and an impoverished country, crippled by a failed economic system and harsh worldwide sanctions.

The U.S. "maximum pressure" strategy aimed at severely restricting Pyongyang's hard currency earnings through harsh global sanctions has made China increasingly uneasy. The administration officials credited toughened economic sanctions imposed by the United Nations, and pushed by the USA, with helping bring Kim to the brink of negotiations.

The talks took place as representatives of Korean churches were meeting with worldwide partners in a conference in Seoul organised by the NCCK to mark the the 30th anniversary of the NCCK 1988 Declaration of the Churches of Korea on National Reunification and Peace.

In an interview en route to the Middle East, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis declined to discuss the timing and scale of the exercises.

"Now more than ever, the president must empower our diplomats and nuclear non-proliferation experts to work with our allies to carefully coordinate our efforts in seeking a pathway towards denuclearization of North Korea".

On Saturday, Trump said his talks with Kim could end with no agreement or they could be "the greatest deal for the world".

"Places like Switzerland, Sweden or Jeju Island have been gaining a lot of attention, but we also view the JSA as a serious option", an official with South Korea's presidential Blue House said on Sunday.

"I believe they will honor that commitment", the President said.

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