'Concrete steps' to nixing nukes needed before North Korea talks: White House

Saturday, 10 Mar, 2018

While she was in town for a separate announcement, Gillibrand addressed the potential upcoming meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong Un.

"The president will not have the meeting without seeing concrete steps and concrete action" taken on the vague promises North Korea has made to South Korean envoys on "denuclearization" and halting its nuclear and missile tests, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said at a press briefing.

For his part, Sanders, a presidential contender in the 2016 election, said that he is "very anxious about North Korea's nuclear capability" and seemed skeptical that Trump is taking diplomacy seriously.

Last year, Sen. Hirono wrote to the president to urge him to fill the ambassadorship, and several other positions that are critical to finding a diplomatic solution to de-escalate tensions with North Korea.

"The Administration must go into any meeting with a plan to ensure that negotiations with Kim Jong-un produce real results, not a photo op that lends legitimacy to North Korea's murderous regime", U.S. Senator Mark Warner, a Democrat who is vice chairman of the Senate intelligence committee, said in a statement.

The bombshell news, announced by a South Korean delegation at the White House on Thursday night, was met with wary optimism by China and United States allies in the region.

A South Korean envoy said in Washington that Trump expressed willingness, and that Kim had expressed commitment to denuclearisation. Those exercises focus on defending South Korea from attack.

Chung Eui-yong, South Korea's national security adviser, first made the announcement at the White House on Thursday evening, later confirmed by Trump in a social media post.

"A meeting is being planned", Trump said on Twitter on Friday after accepting an invitation to meet from Kim.

January 1, 2018: Kim says in his New Year's address that he has a nuclear button on his desk, but also calls for improved relations with South Korea and suggests sending a delegation to the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Moon praised the Winter Games for setting the stage for a detente between the rival Koreas, adding that he hopes it will "create a new world peace".

The meeting would be a first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, offering a potential breakthrough in relations between the two adversaries.

She added that "in the meantime, all sanctions and maximum pressure must remain".

February 9: Kim's sister, Kim Yo Jong, becomes the first member of North Korea's ruling family to visit the South since the end of the Korean War. He gave the sports minister The Art of the Deal previous year. The tests were part of efforts to ideal an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM) with a survivable warhead to target US mainland cities.

Jeffrey Lewis, who heads the respected East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of Strategic Studies, said Trump was dancing to Kim s tune. Trump called Kim a "maniac" and "little rocket man".

Kim, meanwhile, has called the Republican commander-in-chief "mentally deranged" and a "dotard".

Before the White House began setting out conditions for the talks, China and Russian Federation welcomed the prospect of a summit.

Russia: Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov hailed the proposed meeting as "a step in the right direction".