About two dozen journalists from the USA, U.K., China and Russian Federation arrived in North Korea on Tuesday to witness the planned dismantling of the isolated country's primary nuclear test site.
Chung Eui-yong, top security advisor for President Moon Jae-in, told reporters on a flight to Washington that South Korea now had 99.9 percent of expectations for the DPRK-U.S. summit to be held as agreed upon though the country was preparing for several possibilities, according to the Blue House.
North and South Korea are technically still at war because their 1950-53 conflict ended in a truce, not a peace treaty.
Some in the US government worry that Moon may be prepared to accept a less-stringent version of North Korean denuclearization than Washington wants and could be open to faster sanctions relief for Pyongyang, the officials said.
The foreign correspondents will be lodged in Wonsan, a port city in North Korea's eastern Kangwon Province, after being invited by Pyongyang for the on-site coverage of the dismantlement of its Punggye-ri nuclear test site in North Hamgyong Province between Wednesday and Friday.
"Moon Jae-in has been playing the role of matchmaker and he has heightened the expectations of both sides", said Shin, a nuclear non-proliferation expert and senior researcher at the Korea Institute for Maritime Strategy.
This disconnect between North Korea and the United States could portend disaster-if the United States continues pushing a CVID model inspired by that of Libya, diplomacy will be a nonstarter with the North.
Other U.S. officials have privately expressed concern that Moon, eager to make progress with the North, may have overstated Kim's willingness to negotiate in good faith over the dismantling of his nuclear arsenal.
Some officials in Washington, speaking on condition of not being named, also blame South Korean officials for initially overselling to Trump the willingness of the North Korean leader to denuclearize.
Donald Trump holds a high-stakes meeting with South Korea's president at the White House on Tuesday, talks that could decide whether the United States president's much-vaunted summit with the North's leader Kim Jong-un goes ahead.
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Cruz also told the pope of his "most wonderful friends, who are also Catholic and who struggle with this". You have to be happy with who you are", Cruz reportedly told El País , a Spanish newspaper.
"They are locked into not giving much to the North Koreans early. whereas South Korea probably has a bit more interest in economic incentivization", said Christopher Green, an analyst with the International Crisis Group.
Even as teams of advance staffers survey ornate hotel ballrooms in Singapore for the June 12 encounter, some of the President's advisers privately say the chances of the talks occurring grew slimmer after North Korea adopted a harsher tone toward the USA last week and raised questions about Kim's commitment to, and definition of, denuclearization.
"Our people are literally dealing with them right now in terms of making arrangements for the meeting", Trump told reporters Thursday after Pyongyang's statements.
It accused the United States of trying in the past to "militarily occupy the whole of Korea by mobilizing the huge aggression forces", including its ground forces, Air Force and Pacific Fleet, and South Korean and Japanese forces.
Past negotiations with North Korea have always been protracted and hard.
North Korea has been seeking a guarantee of its regime's survival, but late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi fell from power and faced death at the hands of rebels in 2011 eight years after he signed a denuclearization agreement in 2003. Some of Kim Jong Un's advisors may now be encouraging Kim to work harder at getting both: security assurances and an eventual normal relationship with the US and acceptance as a nuclear weapons state, at least for an interim period, which could then eventually become de jure recognition as a nuclear weapons state.
"We don't know what is actually going on [in regard to the cancelled meeting between the North and the South and Trump's consultations with his advisers on the feasibility of the Kim Jong-un meeting - TASS], what the positions are, how much they differ and how long it will take to bring the parties closer together so that the leaders can make a decision and each of them can declare his victory", Toloraya explained.
"It would be a great mistake for Kim Jong Un to think he could play Donald Trump", Pence said according to excerpts of an interview made available by Fox.
How does Trump's recent withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal impact his efforts with North Korea? Both parties to the talks are invested in holding the meeting, with Kim seeing an opportunity for worldwide legitimacy and Trump the prospect of securing Korean stability - and perhaps a Nobel Peace Prize.