Trump will not meet Kim without seeing 'concrete' steps - White House

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Preparations are now underway for a meeting between Trump and Kim before the end of May, on the heels of an inter-Korean summit due to be held in the Demilitarized Zone between the two Koreas at the end of April.

The White House pushed back against the notion that Trump's decision to meet with Kim was made in haste, with spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying, "This has been part of an ongoing campaign that's been going for over a year".

It was not clear whether the comments would add a wrinkle to plans, announced Thursday, for an unprecedented meeting between leaders of the antagonistic nations.

Official North Korean daily, Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the ruling Workers' Party carried an opinion piece which lashed out at the latest USA sanctions and said the country would not bow down to pressure by Washington, Efe news reported.

Will U.S. succeed in de-nuclearizing North Korea
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"The expectation is that the talks would lead to a discussion around a conclusion that we're ready to engage in negotiations", the official said.

Trump tweets that he and Xi spoke about that agreed-to meeting and that Xi "appreciates that the U.S.is working to solve the problem diplomatically rather than going with the ominous alternative".

A senior administration official said Mr. Trump's approach has been different from his predecessors who authorised several rounds of talks with the North. He said it was the strongest indication to date of Kim's "not just willingness but really his desire for talks.' Tillerson said Trump made the decision "himself" after determining the time was right for "talks" - but not formal negotiations".

Duterte, who chaired the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) in 2017, also agreed with other Southeast Asian leaders past year that the United States and North Korea must maintain "peace, security, and stability" by pushing for denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

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Earlier Saturday, the US President said meeting Kim "is very much in the making". The South Korean official relayed that Kim wanted to meet with Trump - and the president immediately accepted, according to a White House official, who was not authorized to discuss the meeting and was speaking on condition of anonymity. Joseph Yun, the USA special representative for North Korea and one of America's most experienced North Korea experts, recently retired.

"The U.S. side profusely thanked and put high importance on China's important role in the Korean peninsula issue", the paper said in its regular "Zhong Sheng", or "voice of China", column, which presents the paper's position on foreign policy.

The official Rodong Sinmun said in a commentary that the United States recently declared that it would impose sanctions on 56 designations under the pretext of preventing North Korea from "attempting at evasion of sanctions".

North and South Korea are technically still at war after their 1950-53 conflict ended in a ceasefire, not a truce. "There hasn't been any North Korea-US summit meetings at all and having one after North Korea has already obtained nuclear weapons basically sends a signal that the US is willing to deal with North Korea on that basis", said Zhao Tong, a North Korea expert at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Centre in Beijing.

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"Trump will want North Korea to commit to complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization right then and there", Narang said. North Korea, though, has yet to provide more details.

Evans Revere, a former senior State Department official experienced in negotiating with North Korea, warned that there is a disconnect between how the North and the USA describe "denuclearization" of the divided Korean Peninsula. "That is why other presidents have not done it". Moon granted permission, prompting Trump to make his first known foray into the White House briefing room to inform reporters that the South Koreans would soon be making a major announcement.

Samore said the North Koreans "will be incredibly gracious and friendly". And the North has made a habit of reaching out after raising fears during previous crises, with offers of dialogue meant to win aid and concessions.

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