Trump open to third meeting with N.Korea

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Before his meeting with the South Korean President Moon Jae-in in Washington, US President Donald Trump says he is considering a potential third nuclear summit with North Korea's leader.

North Korea named a new nominal head of state and a new premier, state media said on Friday, replacing the two senior leaders charged with representing Pyongyang in many worldwide engagements and playing a major role in developing the civilian economy.

Moon has suggested that sanctions could be eased to allow inter-Korean economic engagement in return for some nuclear concessions by North Korea, but so far Washington has not agreed.

Although sanctions have undoubtedly made it more hard for Kim to deliver on his public pledge to provide economic development for the people of North Korea, few experts believe he will cave in to external pressure to surrender his nuclear arsenal.

Kim was first elected chairman of this commission in June 2016, when this body was originally created.

The fate of Kim Yong Chol had been the focus of South Korean media speculation since the second Kim-Trump summit in Hanoi in February ended without any agreement because of disputes over USA -led sanctions on the North.

Ahead of his trip, aides to Moon stressed the need to revive US-North Korea talks as soon as possible after a second summit between Trump and Kim collapsed in Hanoi on February 28.

On the Hanoi meeting between Trump and Kim, Moon said that it "was not a source of disappointment, but it is actually the part of a bigger process that will lead us to a bigger agreement".

Trump, the release added, also reiterated that he has a very good relationship with North Korean Chairman Kim Jong-un and that "the door remains open to dialogue".

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Kim Jong-Un told top officials to push ahead with self-reliance to undermine sanctions.

"It did not directly mention the USA, but linked sanctions with hostile forces", said Shin Beom-chul, a senior fellow at the Asian Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul. It later emerged that Kim had been blindsided by an unexpected blunt demand from Mr Trump that he transfer of his nuclear weapons and bomb fuel to the US.

Pak Pong Ju had served two separate terms as premier, from 2003 to 2007 and from 2013 to 2019, according to North Korea Watch.

Analyst Cheong Seong-Chang at South Korea's Sejong Institute said that because much of the responsibility for the failed nuclear diplomacy with the United States will probably be assigned to Kim Yong Chol, a hardline former military general blamed for two attacks in 2010 that killed 50 South Koreans, his influence will likely be diminished.

North Korea is expected to convene a session of its legislature, the Supreme People's Assembly, on Thursday, while US President Donald Trump is expected to hold a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in later on Thursday. But Washington insisted on what officials described as "a big deal" that called for trading sanctions relief for the dismantlement of all of the North's nuclear and other weapons programs.

Choe was one of the three officials sanctioned by the USA in December over allegations of rights abuses.

By the constitution, the presidium president post is North Korea's nominal head of state though all power is heavily concentrated on Kim, the third-generation member of his family to rule the North since his grandfather founded it in 1948.

Choe directs the North's "departments that perpetrate the regime's brutal state-sponsored censorship activities, human rights violations and abuses", US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said in a statement in December.

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