Published: Wed, November 07, 2018
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

N. Korean leader likely to visit Russian Federation in November: S. Korean envoy

N. Korean leader likely to visit Russian Federation in November: S. Korean envoy

The resumption in military drills comes just days before US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to hold talks with his North Korean counterpart on denuclearisation and plans for a second summit between their leaders.

The combined marine drills were among "select" joint exercises that were indefinitely delayed in June, after Trump met with Kim in Singapore and pledged to halt "very provocative" and expensive joint military drills with Seoul.

The living conditions of North Koreans have deteriorated since the isolated state allocated huge sums of money to developing nuclear weapons and testing long-range missiles, prompting unprecedented US sanctions.

Pompeo told CBS's Face the Nation he expected "real progress" during talks with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Yong Chol, when they meet at the end of the week in NY.

As the United States and North Korea prepare for another round of high-level talks this week, Pyongyang's increasingly heated rhetoric has analysts anxious that the stalemate between the two sides could lead to a breakdown in negotiations.

The Korea Marine Exercise Program (KMEP) exercise has been suspended for six months since May as the two countries engaged in diplomacy with North Korea, said yonhap in a report.

"The US thinks that its oft-repeated "sanctions and pressure" lead to "denuclearisation".

About 100 South Koreans, including Hyundai Group chairwoman Hyun Jeong-eun, will cross the heavily fortified border into North Korea on November 18 for the ceremony before returning home the next day, Hyundai Asan spokesman Lee Jae-hee said.

Pompeo, interviewed on television's "Fox News Sunday", said the Trump administration wants a full, verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. He also declared that the North would stop nuclear and long-range missile tests.

The piece, carried in North Korea's state-run news agency KCNA, accused Washington of believing the "foolish idea that the DPRK came out to the negotiating table, yielding to the sanctions" and failing to understand that "the improvement of relations and sanctions are incompatible".

North Korea has recently stepped up its rhetoric, demanding an easing of United States economic sanctions, with the support of China and Russian Federation.

Asked when Pyongyang could expect sanctions relief, Pompeo said: "It is not only complete denuclearisation, but our capacity to verify that that has taken place, is also a prerequisite to lifting economic sanctions".

The measures hamper South Korea from pursuing cooperation projects with the North, according to the institute in a statement late last Friday. Over the weekend, Kim hosted President Miguel Diaz-Canel of Cuba - another country under United States sanctions - during a lavish visit in Pyongyang, where the two leaders vowed to boost their cooperation.

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