World News

South Korea says considering way to change armistice with North Korea

South Korea says considering way to change armistice with North Korea

South Korea's President Moon Jae-in, seen here at the Winter Olympics in PeongChang, is said to have met with North Korea's Kim Jong-un to talk about officially ending the 65-year-old war between their two countries.

Nevertheless, Pompeo's conversations in North Korea had fueled Trump's belief that productive negotiations were possible, according to a US senior official briefed on the trip.

Two people with direct knowledge of the trip told the Washington Post that Pompeo met the North Korean leader over Easter as part of an effort to lay the groundwork for direct talks between Donald Trump and Kim.

However, the president, speaking at a joint news conference Tuesday with Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe from the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, said the USA and North Korea have had direct talks "at very high levels".

But White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump and Kim have not spoken directly. The AP cited two US officials saying Pompeo traveled to North Korea for the meetings.

Efforts to arrange an unprecedented meeting between the USA and North Korean leaders have helped ease tensions over Pyongyang's development of nuclear missiles capable of hitting the United States. He also said Trump had promised to discuss the issue of Japanese abductees in North Korea with Kim.

It would be the first ever summit between USA and North Korea during more than six decades of hostility since the Korean War.

South Korea is weighing its options in concluding a peace treaty through the upcoming summits involving North Korea, a high-level official said Wednesday. Some South Koreans fear that the North could use such a treaty as a pretext for demanding the withdrawal of the 28,500 American troops now stationed in the South.

More news: Air strikes reported in Syria

One potential complication to a peace treaty is that South Korea was not party to the original armistice agreement, which was signed by the U.S., North Korea and China. Also joining the American delegation was new the national security adviser, John Bolton, who has previously advocated for a preemptive military strike against North Korea.

Trump, in Florida hosting Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan, confirmed direct contacts between the United States and North Korea.

Last week, Secretary of State nominee CIA Director Mike Pompeo said North Korea should not expect rewards from talks until it takes irreversible steps to give up its nuclear weapons.

On Tuesday, Senator Jeanne Shaheen, member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said she had she couldn't support Pompeo's nomination.

"We'll either have a very good meeting, or we won't have a good meeting, and maybe we won't even have a meeting at all, depending on what's going in", he said.

"They are discussing an end to the war".

The two Koreas may also discuss pulling some of their forces away from the heavily fortified demilitarized zone separating them, the newspaper said.


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