Japan offers to host second US-North Korea summit

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Last month's third summit in Pyongyang was partly aimed at salvaging faltering nuclear talks between the North and the United States.

South Korea has considered lifting economic sanctions created to force North Korea to relinquish its nuclear weapons, drawing a swift rebuke from Donald Trump and exposing a rift in Seoul's alliance with Washington.

South Korea is supplying water in the North Korean border town of Kaesong using a facility in a now-shuttered factory park that had been jointly operated by the rivals.

The Koreas' decision to locate their liaison office in Kaesong, and also the large number of CEOs accompanying South Korean President Moon Jae-in's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang last month, indicate that Seoul is preparing to restart inter-Korean economic projects if nuclear diplomacy begins yielding results.

Lifting the South's sanctions would have little effect since USA -led global sanctions remain. The two Koreas have agreed to begin work on that by the end of this year, and the equipment and technology that would cross the border would nearly certainly require UN Security Council permissions.

"But I have agreed to meet", he said.

"Kang flubs it", the conservative Joongang Daily editorialized. "This indicates that Seoul is unhappy with the Americans: If Kang made a faux pas, she would be fired".

Kang's comments are likely to increase speculation that Washington was not fully on board before Seoul signed the agreement.

"Kang is biting the bullet, and indicating to North Korea that South Korea is trying its best to ease sanctions", said Go Myong-hyun, a North Korea researcher at the Asan Institute in Seoul.

Kang's remarks generated smiles in other quarters. While U.N. sanctions against North Korea don't ban tourism, they do place restrictions on bulk cash transfers, he said.

He has encouraged USA allies to maintain sanctions on North Korea until it denuclearises as part of his administration's "maximum pressure" campaign against Pyongyang.

The statement contradicts the "maximum pressure" strategy pursued by Washington and enthusiastically endorsed by Tokyo, but which Seoul now appears to be wavering on: It calls for sanctions to remain in place until denuclearization is complete.

The Chinese Communist Party and the Chinese embassy in North Korea sent floral baskets to the Central Committee of the Workers' Party of Korea on Wednesday to congratulate the latter on its 73rd anniversary, according to North Korea's Korean Central News Agency.

In her remarks to the Washington Post, Kang also differed with the USA view on the denuclearization process.

Pompeo has since made another trip to Pyongyang, this past Sunday, for a summit that was called to restart negotiations between the United States and the North.

The drive for denuclearisation sprang from pledges made by Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un at their historic summit in Singapore in June, although there has since been disagreement over how that would be achieved.

As part of his delegation to Pyongyang, Pompeo brought along Stephen Biegun, his special representative to North Korea and the diplomat expected to take on more of the day-to-day negotiating with Kim's regime.

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