Singapore designates special zone for Trump-Kim summit

04 June, 2018, 14:39 | Author: Clarence Schmidt
  • Mattis: Sanctions Stay on N. Korea Until Denuclearization Progress

North Korea's top three military officials have been replaced ahead of an historic summit between leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump, according to multiple reports.

Mr Assad, who has frequently been criticised by Mr Trump for his conduct during the protracted Syrian civil war, was quoted by North Korea's KCNA news agency as saying: "I am going to visit the DPRK and meet (His Excellency) Kim Jong-un", using the initials of the country's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea. Yonhap identified them as defence chief Pak Yong Sik; Ri Myong Su, chief of the Korean People's Army's (KPA) general staff; and Kim Jong Gak, director of the KPA's General Political Bureau. They are loyal to Kim Jong Un and no one else'.

Reuters reported that us officials feel that there was disagreement within the North Korean military as to how Kim should work with Washington and Seoul.

Whether such projects will amount to anything hinges on whether the Trump-Kim meeting even takes place next week in Singapore.

It was unclear when the changes were carried out, but plans to replace Kim Jong Gak were reported in the North Korean media last month, Yonhap said.

South Korean foreign minister Kang Kyung-hwa had a 15-minute phone call with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday to discuss the upcoming summit between Kim and Trump, the foreign ministry in Seoul said.

The Trump administration wants the North to "denuclearise", meaning to get rid of its nuclear arsenal, in return for relief from economic sanctions.


Pyongyang and Damascus maintain good relations, and United Nations monitors have accused North Korea of cooperating with Syria on chemical weapons, a charge the North denies.

Pyongyang has long argued that it needs nuclear weapons to protect itself against a possible invasion by the US.

Citing an unnamed intelligence official, Yonhap said No Kwang Chol, first vice minister of the Ministry of People's Armed Forces, had replaced Pak Yong Sik as defence chief, while Ri Myong Su was replaced by his deputy, Ri Yong Gil.

"We can anticipate, at best, a bumpy road to the (negotiations)", Mattis said at the start of a meeting with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts on the sidelines of Shangri-la dialogue in Singapore.

Sanctions make it very hard for senior North Korean officials to travel overseas, and Madden said Kim will also not wish to impose too much of a burden on the Singapore government, which will have to deal with onerous security arrangements caused by both leaders' presence in the city.

That official said United States negotiators' efforts to press for definitions of immediate, comprehensive, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization by North Korea had run into opposition from the White House.

U.S. and North Korean officials held working-level talks at the border truce village of Panmunjeom on Monday for the third consecutive day to prepare for their summit slated for next week.

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