United States commander says N.Korea unlikely to give up all nuclear weapons

United States commander says N.Korea unlikely to give up all nuclear weapons

United States commander says N.Korea unlikely to give up all nuclear weapons

Officials say a jointly-hosted Olympics is an opportunity for sports diplomacy to bring stability to the Korean peninsula, but its feasibility is dependent on North Korea's denuclearization plans, which will be discussed during upcoming talks between Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi.

Siegfried Hecker, a former director of the U.S. Los Alamos weapons laboratory in New Mexico who is now at Stanford and was one of the report's authors, told Reuters analysis of satellite imagery showed North Korea's production of bomb fuel continued in 2018.

That summit is scheduled for February 27 and 28 in Hanoi, Vietnam.

The probability of the Olympic bid, however, relies on the state of North Korea's nuclear and ballistic program.

"Pyongyang "is using civilian facilities, including airports, for ballistic missile assembly and testing with the goal of effectively preventing "decapitation" strikes" on a smaller number of identified nuclear and missile assembly and manufacturing sites", the United Nations report said. The two leaders held their first unprecedented meeting in June a year ago in Singapore. Richard Blumenthal of CT said the first meeting led to "a stark and stunning lack of any action [or] progress".

Pyongyang has taken "the remarkable step" of ending nuclear weapons and long-range missile testing "at a time during which North Korea has been rapidly increasing the sophistication of its nuclear weapons and missiles and their destructive power and reach", researchers said.

In September Kim hinted he could dismantle nuclear facilities at Yongbyon in return for "corresponding measures" by the United States.

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South Korean media said Biegun told a South Korean parliamentary delegation visiting Washington that in Pyongyang the two sides agree not to negotiate, but to make clear their respective positions.

Yonhap said the U.S. had previously demanded 1.13 trillion won (US$1 billion) from South Korea.

"With only two weeks until the summit, it will be hard to resolve all the tricky issues, but there's a chance if we can agree on a timeline (for denuclearization)", a South Korean delegation member quoted Biegun as saying.

He said there has been a reduction in tensions along the Korean Demilitarized Zone - the buffer zone between North and South Korea - and cited he North's decision to stop missile tests and other provocative actions, but said, "Little to no verifiable change has occurred in North Korea's military capabilities".

The State Department declined to comment.

After the first summit, Trump tweeted that "there was no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea" and that "everybody can now feel much safer".

Late previous year, the US military had warned Korean workers on its bases they might be put on leave from mid-April if no deal was agreed.

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