North Korea used VX nerve agent to kill leader's brother, says US

Ed Krayewski

Malaysia has never accused the North Korean regime of conspiring to kill Kim and has worked to avoid larger political implications during the trial which is ongoing.

The meeting marked the first time South Korean officials have met with the young North Korean leader in person since he took power after his dictator father's death in late 2011.

Although Bolton expressed wariness with North Korea's seemingly drastic shift, he maintained that the U.S. would only be distracted successfully "if we take the pressure off" Kim that Trump has applied since he assumed the Oval Office in 2017.

The statement gave no details or evidence on how the US had come to their conclusion.

In a briefing following the meeting, Liberty Korea Party Chairman Hong Jun-pyo expressed doubt cross-border talks would lead to the North dismantling its nukes.

Kim noted to the South Koreans that were it not for fear of an attack, he wouldn't have any use for the nuclear program in the first place, according to Abraham M. Denmark, director of the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars.

Both North Korea and the United States have said they are open to talks but the U.S. position has been that dialogue must be aimed at North Korea's denuclearisation, something Pyongyang has rejected. But he added, "We're going to see".

North Korea's willingness to hold a "candid dialogue" with the United States to discuss denuclearization and establish diplomatic relations follows a year of increased fears of war on the Korean Peninsula, with Kim and Trump exchanging fiery rhetoric and crude insults over Kim's barrage of weapons tests. The South Korean delegation led by presidential national security director Chung Eui-yong returned to the South today and announced the Kim-Moon summit planned for next month.

But it would be churlish not to also recognize the contribution of the "bad cop": U.S. President Donald Trump, who has turned up the heat on North Korea with ever tighter rounds of sanctions, and badgered historic ally China to isolate the 25 million-strong Stalinist state.




Later this week officials from South Korea, who brought the message from Kim, as well as officials from Japan and the United States, will huddle in Washington to compare notes. "North Korea is putting everything on the table", she said.

So, does this mean we should be skeptical about the announcement and brace ourselves for an expected devolution?

"The Trump administration deserves credit for increasing the pressure and deepening even further the alienation between China and North Korea", says Professor John Delury, an East Asia expert at Yonsei Univeristy in Seoul.

Trump's tightening noose, combined with a sympathetic ear in Seoul (compared to hawkish former President Park Geun-hye), is the most likely explanation for Kim's stunning about-face. It also promised to suspend nuclear and missiles tests during such future talks, Chung said. Just look at where the North's nuclear and missile capability is after the numerous meetings and negotiations, including the two inter-Korean summits.

That would mark the first time that a North Korean leader has ever entered southern territory.

The North Koreans have also said they would be willing to negotiate with the Trump administration directly.

Wednesday's meeting involved Choo Mi-ae of the ruling Democratic Party, Hong Joon-pyo of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party, Yoo Seong-min of the minor opposition Bareunmirae Party, Cho Bae-sook of the Party for Democracy and Peace and Lee Jeong-mi of the progressive Justice Party.

Chung said the two Koreas agreed to hold their summit at a Seoul-controlled facility.

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