North and South Korea to submit joint bid for 2032 Olympics

Kang Kyung-wha South Korean Foreign Minister, says negotiations for new deal'long but successful

Officials say a jointly-hosted Olympics is an opportunity for sports diplomacy to bring stability to the Korean peninsula, but its feasibility is dependent on North Korea's denuclearization plans, which will be discussed during upcoming talks between Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi.

According to the Chosun Ilbo newspaper, the unidentified administrator of the official Paekhwawon guesthouse in Pyongyang was found guilty of corruption after the ruling Workers' Party's Organization and Guidance Department conducted a raid on his property in October, on North Korean leader Kim Jong Un's orders. Unlike past cost-sharing deals, which lasted multiple years, the new agreement would only be for one year, forcing negotiators to hammer out a new pact in the coming months, it added. "That is, we think it is unlikely that North Korea will give up all of its nuclear weapons or production capabilities, but seeks to negotiate partial denuclearization in exchange for United States and global concessions", he said.

The disagreement had raised the prospect that Trump could decide to withdraw at least some troops from South Korea, as he has in other countries like Syria. Since the summit, Pyongyang has not tested any nuclear weapons or ballistic missiles. Their first summit in Singapore last June resulted in Kim's vague commitment to "complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", a term that his propaganda machine previously used when it argued it would only denuclearize after the USA withdraws its troops from South Korea.

Pyongyang has taken "the remarkable step" of ending nuclear weapons and long-range missile testing "at a time during which North Korea has been rapidly increasing the sophistication of its nuclear weapons and missiles and their destructive power and reach", researchers said.

Kim pledged in Singapore to work toward denuclearization of the Korean peninsula and in September expressed willingness to permanently dismantle facilities at his country's main nuclear site of Yongbyon - in return for corresponding U.S. moves.

Yonhap said the USA had previously demanded 1.13 trillion won (US$1 billion) from South Korea.

South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha and Timothy Betts, acting Deputy Assistant Secretary and Senior Advisor for Security Negotiations and Agreements in the U.S. Department of State, talk during their meeting at Foreign Ministry in Seoul, South Korea, February 10, 2019. The two sides had also difficulty on the final amount, as the Trump administration reportedly demanded an annual sum of around one billion dollars when the negotiations were close to an end late past year.

"With only two weeks until the summit, it will be hard to resolve all the tricky issues, but there's a chance if we can agree on a timeline (for denuclearization)", a South Korean delegation member quoted Biegun as saying.

This combined with production of perhaps 150 kg of highly enriched uranium may have allowed North Korea to increase the number of weapons in its arsenal by between five and seven, the Stanford report said.

Most US troops were withdrawn in 1949 but they returned the next year to fight alongside South Korea in the 1950-53 Korean war.

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