Fate of 12 North Korean Waitresses Strains Moon-Kim Detente

Directional signs bearing North Korean and U.S. flags are seen near the demilitarized zone separating the two Koreas in Paju South Korea

Fate of 12 North Korean Waitresses Strains Moon-Kim Detente

The reporters and television crews joined the other journalists from the United States, China, Russia and Britain in Wonsan, as they wait for a special train to the Punggye-ri test site in the northeastern mountainous area.

North Korea has always justified its nuclear program as a deterrent against perceived USA hostility.

"The North Koreans have conducted all these tests here, every single weapons test, so if they let experts in to look at these tunnels before they let anyone else in that would be potentially for us an intelligence boon", said Bruce Bechtol, a professor of political science at Angelo State University.

He says: "We will know next week about Singapore and if we go I think it will be a great thing for North Korea".

Ahead the most awaited meeting between N Korea leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in June, North Korea vowed that it would close its Punggye-ri test site and halt nuclear weapons and missile tests.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies at a hearing of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington U.S

U.S. President Donald Trump makes his way to board Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House on May 23, 2018 in Washington.

Trump weighed in Tuesday, say there was a "very substantial chance" the planned summit with Kim "won't work out". "But there is a good chance that we'll have the meeting".

"We really hope that all sides, especially the United States and North Korea, can seize the opportunity, meet each other halfway, and resolve in a balanced way each other's concerns", Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told a regular news briefing.

However, based on his own discussions with the North Korean leader, Pompeo said he was hopeful that Trump could convince Kim to make a strategic decision to denuclearize.

South Korean journalists were initially left off the flight because they were not granted permission by Pyongyang.

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"When Bolton gave an interview and talked about following a Libya model, Pyongyang said, 'I don't think so, that ain't happening".

If the summit is called off or fails, it would be a major blow to what Trump supporters hope will be the biggest diplomatic achievement of his presidency.

President Moon said he has every confidence that President Trump "will achieve a historic feat", adding that he will offer all the support he can.

Kim himself has disputed those claims in conversations with his South Korean counterpart Moon Jae-In. "Now you see the Trump administration trying to manage expectations".

Asked on Wednesday whether the summit would go ahead, Trump told reporters: "It could very well happen".

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"There are certain conditions that we want". His spokeswoman, Sarah Huckabee Sanders, said Trump was referring to a commitment to seriously discuss denuclearization.

It had also declined to take the South Korean reporters after calling off planned intra-Korean talks in protest against U.S.

Pompeo has met twice with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, once in April as Central Intelligence Agency director and earlier this month as secretary of State when he brought back three USA detainees held by North Korea. On his most recent trip he brought back three Americans who had been held by North Korea.

"The government will swiftly carry out necessary measures for the journalists such as granting approvals for visiting North Korea and providing transportation", the ministry said.

"I will guarantee his safety, yes", Mr Trump said, if Mr Kim agreed to complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearisation. They are home, they are living with their families.

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