Kim to shutter nuclear site if USA takes steps

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wants to hold a second summit meeting with President Trump soon to speed up the denuclearization process, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday.

While Pyongyang has stopped nuclear and missile tests this year, it failed to keep its pledge to allow worldwide inspections of its dismantling of the Punggye-ri site in May, stirring criticism that the move could be reversed.

He and Kim Jong-un had celebrated their talks hours earlier by going to the top of Mount Paektu, a volcano on North Korea's border with China.

Experts say the destruction of the missile engine test site and launch pad wouldn't represent a material step in the denuclearization of North Korea, which declared its nuclear force complete a year ago and has designed its most powerful missiles to be fired from vehicles.

However, their premier accord on the issue that most worries the world - the North's pursuit of nuclear-tipped missiles capable of striking as far as the USA mainland - contained a big condition: Mr Kim stated that he would permanently dismantle North Korea's main nuclear facility only if the U.S. takes unspecified corresponding measures.

In another notable first, Moon directly mentioned the North's denuclearization several times, including at his speech Wednesday in front of the 150,000 North Koreans attending the Mass Games performance.

The hope is that it will kickstart talks between the United States and North Korea which have stalled.

Pompeo hopes to get back on track next week at the U.N. General Assembly meeting in NY, to which he's invited the North Korean foreign minister. He said, "The era of no war has started".

The Korean summit comes as the USA effort to get North Korea to shut down its nuclear weapons program has met with mixed results.

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However, while containing several tantalizing offers, it appears to fall short of the major steps many in Washington had been looking for - such as a commitment by Pyongyang to provide a list of the North's nuclear facilities, a solid step-by-step time line or an agreement to allow global inspectors in to assess progress or discover contraventions.

Kim Jong-un, his North Korean counterpart, watched from a distance.

And his plans to visit the South were also included in that agreement made between the two leaders.

The war ended in an armistice, rather than a peace treaty, meaning US-led United Nations forces, including South Korea, are technically still at war with the North.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo says he has invited North Korea's foreign minister to meet with him next week to continue discussions on efforts to get the North to abandon its nuclear weapons. The president has long stated that he would love to one day visit Mount Paektu, which is also sometimes spelled Baekdu.

Moon Jae-in, the South Korean president, stepped into the shallow waters of Heaven Lake, regarded as the spiritual home of the Korean people, bent down at the knee and scooped up a glassful of water.

None of this is to say North Korean denuclearization is an impossibility, or that we may not see advances more dramatic than the liaison office soon.

However, in the meantime Moon and Kim made concrete moves of their own to reduce tensions on their border.

"Invoking the end of Trump's term in January 2021 is another way of saying to the North that American patience is not unlimited and that Kim Jong Un won't be able to sidestep denuclearisation indefinitely", Russel added.

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