North Korea

North Koreans Are No Show at Scheduled U.S. Talks

“North Korean officials didn’t show up for a planned meeting with U.S. counterparts to discuss returning the remains of American war dead… in the latest sign of tensions between the two sides,” Bloomberg reports.

“U.S. negotiators arrived Thursday at the militarized border between the two Koreas as previously announced by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and were kept waiting,”

Inside Pompeo’s Fraught North Korea Trip

“As U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo touched down in Pyongyang at 10:54 a.m. on Friday he had few details of his schedule in the North Korean capital — even which hotel he and his staff would stay in,” Bloomberg reports.

“In the end, Pompeo stayed at neither of the hotels where he thought he’d be. The North Koreans took him, his staff and the six journalists traveling with the delegation to a gated guesthouse on the outskirts of the capital, just behind the mausoleum where the bodies of regime founder Kim Il Sung and his son Kim Jong Il lie embalmed and on occasional display.”

“It was the start of a confused visit of less than 30 hours, marked by a pair of lavish banquets that the secretary and his staff appeared to dread for their length and the daunting number of courses presented by unfailingly polite waiters. He only learned of his own schedule hours ahead of time, and the meeting with Kim Jong Un never happened — despite strenuous efforts from his staff.”

North Korea Calls U.S. Attitude ‘Regrettable’

North Korea accused the Trump administration of pushing a “unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization” and called it “deeply regrettable,” hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said his two days of talks in the North Korean capital were “productive,” the New York Times reports.

Washington Post: “The mixed messages followed a visit in which Pompeo did not meet with the North Korean leader while in the country and did not secure a breakthrough in forging a shared understanding of denuclearization.”

“Pompeo has come under increasing pressure to produce tangible results from the summit that President Trump quickly touted as a game-changing moment that eliminated North Korea’s nuclear threat.”

Pompeo Brings ‘Rocket Man’ CD for Kim

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo left for North Korea for denuclearization talks and brought two gifts for leader Kim Jong-un: One is a letter from President Trump and the other an Elton John CD with his song ‘Rocket Man’, according to South Korean newspaper Chosun Ilbo.

Said one diplomatic source in Washington: “The ‘Rocket Man’ CD was the subject of discussion during Trump’s lunch with Kim. Kim mentioned that Trump referred to him as ‘rocket man’ when tensions ran high last year after a series of nuclear tests and missile launches by the North. Trump then asked Kim if he knew the song and Kim said no.”

“Trump remembered the conversation and told Pompeo to take a CD with the song for Kim. He reportedly wrote a message on it and signed it.”

Pompeo Heads to North Korea Again

“Turning the enthusiasm of the meeting in Singapore into a concrete, verifiable agreement is now the job of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is leaving Washington early Thursday for North Korea. It will be his third trip there, but the first to flesh out a timetable and a common understanding of what the Singapore commitment to ‘work toward denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula’ really means,” the New York Times reports.

“Complicating the task is this: Mr. Pompeo, a former C.I.A. chief who knows the details of the North Korean program intimately and has solicited plans for how to accomplish his goals, must show that he can get the North Koreans to go far beyond the agreement his predecessor once-removed, John Kerry, achieved in negotiations with Iran.”

Trump May Meet Kim Again In New York

Mike Allen: “Some administration officials are so optimistic about making progress with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un that they hope a Round 2 with President Trump can be held in New York in September, when world leaders pour into Trump’s hometown for the U.N. General Assembly.”

“Officials tell us that Kim would have to show progress for the meeting to occur. One possibility would be for Trump to hold out a Round 2 meeting as a carrot to encourage real movement by North Korea over the summer.”

North Korea Has Increased Nuclear Production

“U.S. intelligence agencies believe that North Korea has increased its production of fuel for nuclear weapons at multiple secret sites in recent months — and that Kim Jong Un may try to hide those facilities as he seeks more concessions in nuclear talks with the Trump administration,” NBC News reports.

“The intelligence assessment, which has not previously been reported, seems to counter the sentiments expressed by President Trump, who tweeted after his historic June 12 summit with Kim that ‘there was no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea.'”

Satellite Shows North Korea Improving Nuclear Site

“Satellite images from last week show that North Korea is making numerous improvements to the infrastructure at a nuclear research facility,” The Hill reports.

“The images, obtained by North Korea analysis outlet 38 North, come just weeks after President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed an agreement that called for a denuclearized Korean peninsula.”

Trump Reverses Himself on North Korea Threat

President Trump told Congress in a letter that North Korea’s “provocative, destabilizing, and repressive actions… continue to constitute an unusual and extraordinary threat” to the United States, the Daily Beast reports.

The letter comes just over a week after Trump boasted on Twitter that there “is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea” and that “everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office.”

Kim Makes Another Visit to China

“North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, arrived in China on Tuesday to begin a two-day visit, his third such trip since March,” the New York Times reports.

“Mr. Kim’s trip comes one week after his landmark summit meeting in Singapore with President Trump.”

“Mr. Kim’s visit comes as a trade war between the United States and China is intensifying, giving him an opening to play one power against the other — a tactic he appears to be using as the United States presses him to destroy his nuclear arsenal.”

McCain Accuses Trump of ‘Parroting’ North Korea

Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) blasted President Trump’s decision to halt military exercises with South Korea as part of the ongoing negotiations with North Korea, The Hill reports.

Said McCain: “Suspending U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises is a mistake. Making unnecessary and unreciprocated concessions is not in our interests—and it is a bad negotiating tactic.”

McCain also knocked Trump for calling the war games with South Korea “provocative” saying the president was “parroting Chinese and North Korean propaganda.”