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Mike Pompeo invites North Korean talks, aims for denuclearisation by 2021

21 September 2018

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, centre right, and his wife Kim Jung-sook, shake hands with staff of Paekhwawon State Guesthouse before leaving for the Mount Paektu on Thursday.

In this image made from video provided by Korea Broadcasting System, South Korean President Moon Jae-in, left, poses with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un for a photo on the podium upon arrival in Pyongyang, North Korea, Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018.

The two countries also agreed to engage "in constant communication and close consultations" to review the implementation of the previously signed Panmunjom Declaration "and prevent accidental military clashes by promptly activating the Inter-Korean Joint Military Committee".

North and South Korea will bid jointly for the 2032 Olympics, they announced Wednesday, in an ambitious plan built on hopes of deepening a diplomatic thaw catalysed by this year's Winter Games in the South.

South Korean officials said Thursday that Moon traveled by plane to an airport near Mount Paektu where Kim arrived first to greet him.

Moon, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and their wives attended the performance of "The Glorious Country" at Pyongyang's May Day Stadium on Wednesday night where they observed thousands of performers working in precise unison.

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Kim Jong-un's promise that North Korea will destroy its primary nuclear testing site in exchange for concessions from the US has brought Washington back to the negotiating table. He also set a January 2021 deadline for North Korea's denuclearization.

The North Korea ball is thoroughly back in Washington's court.

Kim pledged to work toward the "complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula" during two meetings with Moon this year and at his summit with Trump, but talks on how to implement the vague commitments have since faltered.

At the summit, Moon agreed with Kim to start construction of a railroad to connect the countries, and resume operations at the Kaesong Industrial Complex and tours on Mount Kumgang. Kim vowed to move toward denuclearization if the United States takes steps of its own.

Both leaders also "agreed on a way to achieve denuclearisation" on the Korean peninsula, Mr Moon said. -South Korea joint live-fire military exercise, at a training field near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Pocheon, South Korea, April 21, 2017. A longer route to peace is not ideal, but as long as North and South Korea stay friendly, nuclear warheads won't fly.

The mountain is a pillar of the personality cult surrounding North Korea's ruling dynasty.

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North Korea has never provided a full list of its nuclear material and facilities or allowed for full inspections.

Many believe Mr Trump may agree to a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and it may possibly take place even before the Nov 6 mid-term elections in the United States.

North Korea now faces worldwide sanctions that limit nearly all of its exports and strongly limit imports from its few trading partners.

President Trump said Wednesday that "tremendous progress" was being made toward North Korea giving up nuclear weapons. "Many, particularly in Seoul, are advocating relief or release from sanctions".

Historians say the 5,000-year timeline of Korean history is a groundless claim that became part of South Korea's official narrative after being inserted in school textbooks during the rule of former dictator Chun Doo-hwan.

"The South and North agreed to actively participate jointly in global competitions including the 2020 Summer Olympics and to cooperate in bidding for the South-North joint hosting of the 2032 Summer Olympics", the statement said. Moon then said Kim agreed to visit Seoul within the year unless there are "exceptional circumstances".

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Mike Pompeo invites North Korean talks, aims for denuclearisation by 2021