Japan mum on prospects for summit with N. Korea

People watch a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un right South Korean President Moon Jae-in centre and US President Donald Trump at the railway station in Seoul South Korea on March 7

People watch a TV screen showing North Korean leader Kim Jong Un right South Korean President Moon Jae-in centre and US President Donald Trump at the railway station in Seoul South Korea on March 7

Pyongyang has refused to even acknowledge that denuclearization of North Korea would be a topic of discussion in the April 27 meeting between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in. All parties are expected to discuss the denuclearisation of North Korea.

The agreement will also cap South Korean steel exports at 70 percent of what the country now exports to the United States in an average year and will impose a 10 percent tariff on aluminum exports from South Korea to the US. Technically, this will make North Korean head Kim Jong-un the first leader from his country to cross the border into South Korean territory.

A source at South Korea's trade ministry said the government is "trying to figure out the intention" of Trump "through various channels".

Later Thursday, the North's official Korean Central News Agency for the first time confirmed Mr. Kim's plan to meet with Mr. Moon, without disclosing the time and venue of their meeting.

"We swiftly removed potential conflicts between the two countries at a time when close cooperation between South Korea and the United States is more important than ever", a second senior Blue House official said.

I may hold it up until after a deal is made with North Korea, does everybody understand that?

The new U.S. -South Korea deal-whenever Trump decides to let it advance-will be an open-ended deal, as the North American Free Trade Agreement has been, though Lighthizer alluded to the sunset clause (which has been a point of contention in the ongoing NAFTA renegotiations) still being on the table. It has yet to announce a planned summit meeting with Trump.

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"We believe Kim's visit will help the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, ensure peace and security and solve problems regarding the Korean Peninsula through political negotiations and discussions", he said.

Cho said there was no specific discussion of the Kim-Xi meeting during the talks at the border village.

The trade deal changes, which preserve the US-South Korean trading relationship at a critical time for Seoul, do not need Congress' approval, but are subject to a 60-day consultation period with Seoul.

The new trade deal agreed upon is "going to level the playing field on steel and cars and trucks coming into this country", said the US President as he told the audience that he might hold it till he has a deal with North Korea. North Korea over the past two decades has been repeatedly accused of using disarmament talks as a way to ease outside pressure and win badly needed aid, while continuing to secretly push ahead with weapons development.

North Korea has yet to officially confirm its interest in a summit between Kim and President Donald Trump. Following a months-long pause in military drills and despite the thaw in Seoul-Pyongyang ties, South Korea and the USA will resume joint military exercises on April 1.

North Korea's diplomatic engagement comes in sharp contrast to 2017 when the peninsula appeared to be barreling toward imminent conflict, with Kim overseeing a string of missile and nuclear tests and Trump promising "fire and fury" as Pyongyang threatened Guam, Hawaii and even the United States mainland.

The committee posted a pledge on its website March 29 to resolve pending issues on the Korean Peninsula by "eliminating any dependence on outside influences".