South Korea, US push to hold working-level video talks

Tokyo accuses a South Korean warship of locking fire-control radar on its maritime patrol aircraft and has released a video clip to back up its claim

The US and North Korea plan to hold high-level talks in Washington this week to discuss a second summit of their leaders, following a stalemate in nuclear talks, a South Korean newspaper said yesterday.

The South Korean press has been reporting since Tuesday that top North Korean official Kim Yong Chol is en route to Washington to deliver another letter to Trump from Kim Jong Un and to finalize details for the second Trump-Kim summit.

Kim Yong Chol met Trump during a visit to the White House in June previous year.

However, there has been no indication of any narrowing of differences over U.S. demands that North Korea abandon a nuclear weapons program that threatens the United States or over Pyongyang's demand for a lifting of punishing sanctions.

The U.S. government and military authorities do not officially acknowledge that North Korea possesses nuclear weapons.

South Korea's defense white paper published on January 15 doesn't include its typical term labelling North Korea its "enemy, "present enemy" or "main enemy".

In a sign that frictions have eased since the official's no-show in November, Trump - who has mused that he and Kim Jong-un are "in love" - said he received a warm new letter from the North Korean leader earlier this month.

Pompeo, who made several trips to Pyongyang previous year, had sought to meet his counterpart in November, but those talks were called off at the last minute.

"South Korea and China need to work together closely to ensure the momentum of the dialogue continues to grow this year".

"The North Koreans need a real indication of what the USA is willing to put on the table", said Jenny Town, a North Korea expert at 38 North, a Washington-based think tank.

Senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol (L) arrives at the global airport as he leaves for Washington from Beijing, China January 17, 2019. "The United States can not simply make incremental changes..."

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Kim Yong Chol last came to the United States in June.

It would, however, be rare for the U.S.to engage North Korean officials simultaneously in two locations, raising the possibility that Choe could fly from Stockholm to join the North Korean delegation in Washington, D.C.

Kim and Trump held a historic meeting in Singapore on June 12 previous year where they issued a vague goal for the "complete denuclearisation" of the Korean Peninsula without describing when and how it would occur.

There has been no indication, however, of any narrowing of differences over United States demands that North Korea abandon a nuclear weapons programme that threatens the U.S. or Pyongyang's demand for a lifting of punishing sanctions.

Introducing the report, acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan noted that North Korean missiles remained a "significant concern".

Trump said his administration won't rush to make a deal.

Trump wrote Kim Jong Un a letter, which was flown to Pyongyang and hand delivered over the weekend, the CNN reporter added, citing the source.

"It's thought that the meeting may have afforded the two leaders an opportunity to strategise ahead of a possible second Kim-Trump summit", Looi said.

Vice President Mike Pence speaks during the Global Chiefs of Mission Conference "One Team, One Mission, One Future" at Department of State, Jan. 16, 2019, in Washington.

Regardless, if there is any real prospect of a U.S.

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