President Assad says he 'will visit Kim Jong-un' in North Korea
President Assad says he 'will visit Kim Jong-un' in North Korea
North Korea to get relief only after verifiable step to denuclearisation
04 June, 2018, 09:40
On Saturday, Mattis said US troop levels in South Korea will not be on the table at the Trump-Kim summit.
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad said he plans to visit North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un, Pyongyang's state media reported today, potentially becoming the first head of state to meet Kim inside the isolated country.
Speaking at the Shangri-la Dialogue security forum in Singapore, Onodera said North Korea had entered into agreements to end its nuclear program in the past only to conduct more activities to further their weapons development.
No date for Assad's visit was mentioned by the North Korea's KCNA state news agency.
"If Kim Jong Un is set on making peace with the US and South Korea and dealing away at least part of the nuclear program, he will have to put the KPAs influence in a box and keep it there", said Ken Gause, director of the International Affairs Group at CNA, a non-profit research and analysis organization.
Trump has told reporters that he talked about "ending the war" during his meeting with Kim Yong-chol, a vice chairman of the central committee of the North's ruling Workers' Party, at the White House on Friday.
The KCNA report said Assad made the comments about a possible trip to North Korea last Tuesday while receiving the credentials of the North Korean ambassador.
But North Korea's leadership is believed to regard nuclear weapons as crucial to its survival and has rejected unilaterally disarming.
Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, said the reported new military leadership brings expertise in military-run economic affairs rather than combat strategies.
Citing an intelligence source, Yonhap named the outgoing officials as defense minister Pak Yong Sik, Ri Myong Su, the Korean People's Army's (KPA) chief of the general staff, and Kim Jong Gak, director of the KPA's General Political Bureau and former defense minister.
But analysts say North Korea will be unwilling to cede its nuclear deterrent unless it is given security guarantees that the U.S. will not try to topple the regime.
However, US Secretary of Defense, Jim Mattis, affirmed on Sunday at an Asian Security Conference, that sanctions on North Korea would only be relaxed after "verifiable and irreversible steps" toward Pyongyang's denuclearization.
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