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North Korea readies nuclear, missile sites for international inspectors – Yonhap

SEOUL / WASHINGTON (Reuters) – South Korea's spy agency has observed North Korea preparation for international inspections at several of…

SEOUL / WASHINGTON (Reuters) – South Korea’s spy agency has observed North Korea preparation for international inspections at several of its nuclear and missile sites, Yonhap News Agency said Wednesday and quoted a South Korean legislature.

PHILPHOTO: Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM) run by the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and other senior officials during a military parade marking the 1

05th anniversary of the country’s founding father Kim Il Sung in Pyongyang, April 15, 2017. REUTERS / Damir Sagolj / Filfoto

US officials refused to confirm the observations, but Prime Minister Mike Pompeo said in Washington that he planned to meet his North Korean negotiator next week and would talk to him about inspections.

Pompeo said in a radio interview that the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un had committed to allow US inspectors in two “important” places when he met him in Pyongyang this month.

“We hope to get them there for a long time,” he told the Laura Ingraham show. Pompeo did not identify the places.

Kim Min-Ki in South Korea’s ruling democratic party told reporters earlier that the country’s national intelligence activities observed North Koreans “carry out preparations and notices that seem to be prepared for visits by foreign inspectors” at the Punggye-ri Nuclear Test Site and the Sohae Satellite launch site.

The lawyer added that no major movements had been experienced at Yongbyon, the northern core complex.

North Korea has stopped nuclear and missile tests in recent years, but it does not allow international inspections of the Punggye ri disassembly in May, which criticizes the measure for display and reversal.

In September, Kim Jong Un also promised a summit with the South Korean president Moon Jae-in to shut Sohae and let experts observe the dismantling of the missile motorway and a launcher.

At that time, Moon said that North Korea agreed to allow international inspectors to observe a “permanent settlement” of central missiles and take further measures, such as the closure of Yongbyon, unlike reciprocal movements from the United States.

Washington has demanded steps as a complete account of the North’s nuclear and missile facilities before approving Pyongyang’s key objectives.

US officials have been skeptical of Kim’s commitment to give up nuclear weapons, but the North’s pledge at the South Summit drew an enthusiastic response from President Donald Trump, who met Kim at a previous summit in June and has been keen on a second meeting.

During an inspection of a major construction project at a Wonsan tourist site, Kim told workers that such financial projects are a new “crucial battle” to support the government party and push back to international sanctions on nuclear programs, North Korean government media reported on Thursday .

“The hostile forces are stupidly keen on evil sanctions to stand in the way of promoting people’s well-being and development and lead us to change and submission, but they will be done to clearly review how our country has built its strength hundreds of times defying difficulties building their own country as a powerful nation of their own strength, technology and effort, “he said at the Korean Central News Agency.

Pompeo told Laura Ingraham Washington hoped that the second summit would take place early next year “where we can make a major breakthrough when we take down the nuclear threat from North Korea.”

“There is a lot of work remaining and President Kim has made it clear to me – as usual as I speak to you, Laura – that he intends to criminalize and we will do all we can to help him follow through that dedication. “

Pompeo did not name its counterpart, but Kim Yong Chol, a close assistant to Kim Jong Un, has passed through talks with him.

State Department refused to give details, but the meeting is expected to take place in New York.

Also in Washington, the Korean defense minister Jeong Kyeong-doo told the US and South Korea to decide in December on major joint military exercises for 2019.

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Earlier this month, they broke off two countries Vigilant Ace, one of several exercises that has been stopped to encourage dialogue.

“We are not currently concerned about the loss of combat ability,” said US Defense Minister Jim Mattis to the reporters after the meeting with his South Korean counterpart.

“As we move forward, we need to make adjustments so we do not lose that ability. But at the moment, this is not a complete suspension of all collaborative and military exercises,” added Mattis.

Reporting by Josh Smith; Further reporting by David Brunnstrom and Idrees Ali in Washington; editing by Peter Cooney, James Dalgleish and Diane Craft

Our Standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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