Trump open to third meeting with North Korea

NKorea calls urgent meet amid tense situation

South Korean President Moon Jae-in met with U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington Thursday (local time) in an attempt to keep the dialogue between the U.S. and North Korea alive following their botched summit in Vietnam last month.

South Korea has been desperately trying to save the process, as after the failed Hanoi Summit it desperately needs a shot in the arm, and both United States and North Korean officials are increasingly pessimistic in public statements.

Earlier Moon sat down with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton and said it is necessary "to maintain the momentum of dialogue and achieve results through a top-down approach so the global community can look forward to a third U.S".

Moon, meanwhile, said he did not view the Hanoi Kim-Trump summit as a failure, but part of a longer "process" with the North. But Pyongyang said it asked only for a partial lifting of the sanctions in exchange for dismantling its main nuclear site.

Since early 2018, Mr Kim has embarked on a push for economic development and global engagement, including historic summits with the leaders of the United States, China and South Korea. Trump, however, reaffirmed his stance to maintain sanctions on Pyongyang to force it to give up its nuclear weapons program.

Kim Yong Nam, the now-91-year-old who held the position of the North's head of state - an nearly entirely ceremonial role - for nearly 20 years, was replaced by Choe Ryong Hae, the state-run KCNA said.

Additionally, Choe Ryong Hae was named President of the Presidium of the Supreme People's Assembly of North Korea.

North Korea also replaced the premier of its Cabinet, Mr Pak Pong Ju, an official at the centre of efforts to jumpstart the economy.

South Korea's spy agency said in 2017 it believed he was behind the punishment of General Hwang Pyong So, once one of Mr Kim Jong Un's most-trusted advisers.

But the North's official Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) appeared to indicate that Kim may be focussing on Pyongyang's continued push to develop its economy. "When the right deal is made, and when the nuclear weapons are gone, I just think that North Korea (DPRK) has potential as great as anything I've ever seen in terms of potential".

North Korea has been focusing on economic development since its policy shift, announced last April, from the so-called byongjin policy of simultaneously seeking nuclear and economic development.

Kim also acquired a new title, and now becomes "the supreme representative of all the Korean people" - a newly-created role that observers say makes him more like a modern national leader, on a par with other country's presidents and prime ministers. "From time to time, there are particular provisions, if we are making substantial progress, where one might think it's the right thing to do".

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