USA wants North Korea freeze as beginning, not end, of denuclearisation

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The UN Security Council imposed increasingly tough sanctions on North Korea in response to its nuclear bomb and ballistic missile tests.

Speaking to reporters outside the White House, Trump said that Kim "was so happy to see me" during his hastily-arranged visit to the demilitarized zone with South Korean President Moon Jae-in. While such a change had been speculated since North Korea amended its constitution in April, the regime never formally released the revised language. During their warm encounter, which included South Korean President Moon Jae-in as well, Trump became the first sitting US president to cross into North Korea.

Concern remains, however, that in seeking security guarantees, North Korea might in the future ask for a change in the configuration of US military assets in the Asia-Pacific region, including troops stationed in South Korea, which could make nuclear talks more complicated. Trump crossed into North Korea and shook hands with Kim becoming the first sitting United States president ever to do so. -North Korea summit in June 2018, Trump promised to provide security guarantees to Pyongyang, while Kim committed to the "complete" denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. He met Kim three times a year ago.

A new text of North Korea's governing document - quietly posted on the propaganda website Naenara - adds "represents the country" to the list of duties of the chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Kim's top government title.

It recently urged Seoul to stop mediating between North Korea and the United States, though Kim joined a brief three-way encounter with Moon and Trump before he and the USA president went into a bilateral meeting at Panmunjom.

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Citing unnamed officials, The New York Times reported that-following Trump's G20 appearance, where he spoke with both Putin and Xi-the administration was considering a similar approach that would see some sanctions relief in exchange for North Korea freezing nuclear weapons production.

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus on Tuesday described a nuclear freeze as the first step toward an end goal of complete denuclearization. In exchange, leader Kim Jong Un would be expected to dismantle his main nuclear complex at Yongbyon and halt his entire weapons program, the news agency from South Korea said.

"The White House, when working-level talks begin, wants to set the conditions whereby they can begin the process of North Korea's denuclearization", the Trump administration source told Yonhap.

"President Xi elaborated on China's principled position on the Peninsula issue during his meeting with President Trump in Osaka", Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said at a regular press briefing in the Chinese capital.

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