Investors flooded Dandong trying to cash in on prospects of booming business with North Korea as tensions started to ease on the Korean Peninsula, highlighted by the historic inter-Korean summit last month and the highly anticipated meeting between the United States and North Korean leaders in June. "Clearly, the ballistic missiles program, as with Iran, with the intention of being a delivery system for nuclear weapons - that's gotta go".
"The South and North will hold a high-level inter-Korea meeting on May 16 in the Peace House in Panmunjom, to discuss implementation of 'Panmunjom Declaration for Peace, Prosperity and Unification of the Korean Peninsula", the Unification Ministry said in a statement.
"This has been the trade-off that has been pending for 25 years".
Thae emphasized that Kim would demand an assurance of safety against any attacks on North Korea by other countries in return of denuclearisation. But he said the United States would not be willing to invest taxpayer dollars to help the DPRK.
Thae also noted that North Korea was likely to open its borders to tourism projects near its coast.
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North Korea's sudden change in attitude was probably driven by the mounting worldwide sanctions imposed over its weapons programmes that had begun to take a toll on the livelihoods of ordinary citizens, Thae said. "Those are the kind of things that if we get what it is the President has demanded - complete verifiable irreversible denuclearization of North Korea - that the American people will offer in spades".
Lisa Collins, a fellow with the Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic & International Studies, said it is still too early to tell what will be accomplished in the first meeting between Trump and Kim.
Kim has also twice visited China after not paying his respects to President Xi Jinping in the six years since he inherited power from his father, and met the South's President Moon Jae-in in the Demilitarized Zone that divides their countries.
"I've been on the job about five weeks", Bolton said. "There'll be more than that", Pompeo said.
"No president has ever put America in a position where the North Korean leadership thought that this was truly possible, that the Americans would actually do this, would lead to the place where America was no longer held at risk by the North Korean regime", he said, adding, "That's the objective".