North, South Koreas to hold landmark summit

North, South Koreas to hold landmark summit

Trump reacted to the news in a tweet Tuesday, writing, "Possible progress being made in talks with North Korea".

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un salutes during a visit to the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces on the occasion of the new year, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on January 10, 2016. Lankov added: "Trump might mean business - nobody knows if he is or not - and both North and South are acting on the assumption that he does". They returned to Seoul on Tuesday with plans for the late-April meeting - and what appears to be Kim's next gambit. "I seriously doubt it", Dan Coats, the director of national intelligence, told a Senate hearing Tuesday. How much of a breakthrough is this? Pyongyang also vowed to resume its nuclear activities.

Last year it carried out its sixth nuclear blast and launched missiles it said were capable of reaching the US mainland.

The 1994 Agreed Framework offered the North civilian nuclear reactors and other assistance in exchange for denuclearisation. The short answer is that economic sanctions are causing real damage to North Korea's economy now. John McCain, R-Ariz., counted himself "a little more optimistic" than Coats.

In previous programmes to halt its nuclear ambitions, the North has failed to keep its promises.

"Seoul is not in a position to unilaterally repeal independent sanctions", he said, noting that the current sanctions on the North have been imposed by the U.N. Security Council and the United States.

The latest sanctions against North Korea took effect on March 5, following the US's finding in February that Pyongyang was behind the assassination.

Since North Korean imports, so far, are not declining at a similar pace, the DPRK is running a very large trade deficit.

"The drills were one of the biggest issues that was likely to become a poison pill to negotiations", says Stephan Haggard, a Korea expert at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy.

Kim Jong Un may well also have a surprising "gift" up his sleeve - a headline-grabbing concession of some sort, possibly something involving the United States, since that is what Moon wants most. But opposition leaders expressed skepticism over Moon's claim that North Korea made clear its willingness to denuclearize. "There cannot be an arbitrary easing of sanctions; we do not wish to do that and I tell you now it is impossible".

Denuclearization is Trump Administration short hand for America's strategic goal on the Korean peninsula - no nuclear weapons in either the North or the South. Chung said he had a message from Kim Jong Un that he will relay to U.S. officials but it was unclear whether he would meet with Trump. This also indicates that China has begun to pull back some of its support from its rogue puppet, as the last thing the Chinese want is a war on their doorstep.

Some US and South Korean officials have said that Pyongyang may simply be trying to buy time to develop weapons programmes.

"Just because there are talks ongoing between North and South Korea doesn't mean international sanctions can be eased", said Moon. "The government deems that the special envoys' visit was an important turning point in establishing peace and improving inter-Korean relations, and working-level negotiations will begin", Chung said. But a planned encounter with Kim's sister was scrapped by North Korea. "Even if we hold the military exercises inter-Korean relations won't collapse".

Another massive joint exercise known as Ulchi Freedom Guardian is held in the fall.

Analyst Cheong Seong-Chang at South Korea's Sejong Institute said new agreements "potentially pave the way for meaningful dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang" and could be the basis for easing tensions. They will test the line with a phone call before the summit. While these easing fears have diminished gold's safety appeal, the weakness in the greenback as investors turn from selling risk assets and raising cash to moving into riskier currencies will help bolster gold's intermediate-term (3-6 month) prospects as long as these fears remain in abeyance.

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