Pompeo hopeful N. Korea talks will take place

A departure screen shows

Former South Korean National-Security Adviser: The US May Have to Withdraw Some Troops

"Why would we live in difficulties because of our nuclear arsenal if and when we build trust with the USA and promise an end to the Korean War". While that could set a positive tone ahead of the summit, it is not an irreversible move and would need to be followed by many more significant measures to meet Trump's demands for real denuclearization.

"The meeting is scheduled, as you know, on June 12 in Singapore", Trump said.

"Just learned we'll depart for the North Korean nuclear site at Punggye Ri at 5:10pm local time, just over one hour from now", CNN reporter Will Ripley tweeted Wednesday afternoon.

Pompeo, who was director of the Central Intelligence Agency under Trump before becoming secretary of state in April when the president fired Rex Tillerson, has met twice with Kim in Pyongyang. Trump has expressed suspicion that the North's recent barbs against the US were influenced by Kim's unannounced trip to China two weeks ago - his second in as many months.

North Korea conducted several nuclear tests over the past few years and developed long-distance missiles which, it says, can carry nuclear bombs as far as the United States mainland.

To get there requires an 11-hour journey train, four hours by bus, followed by up to an hour of hiking to the mountain location from where the journalists have been told they'll see the nuclear site's destruction.

However, Trump has also stated that there is a substantial chance that the summit may fall through, according to Washington Post.

South Korea welcomed the North's decision to allow South Korean media to witness the dismantling of the Punggye-ri facilities. -South Korean military exercises, and also threatened to abandon the planned Trump-Kim meeting, accusing the USA of a "one-sided demand" that it give up its nuclear weapons.

The North had declined to accept the list of South Korean reporters for days without providing any reason or explanation, giving rise to speculation that the foot-dragging might have to do with somewhat cooled relations between the two Koreas after the North's abrupt cancellation of inter-Korean talks scheduled for last week.

The in-flight entertainment on board a chartered Air Koryo flight the journalists took to Wonsan North Korea

Pompeo has met twice with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, once in April as Central Intelligence Agency director and earlier this month as secretary of State when he brought back three USA detainees held by North Korea.

Punggye-ri has been the site for all six of the North's nuclear tests, the latest and by far the most powerful in September a year ago, which Pyongyang said was a Hydrogen bomb.

"It can't be a great country under the circumstances they're living in right now". On Wednesday it was escorting a group of global reporters, including an Associated Press Television crew, to witness the closure of its atomic test site.

North Korea had announced it would use explosives to close test tunnels, expected on Thursday or Friday. "The North Korean military, the General Staff Department, the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces, as well as the entire North Korean people, they are all potential enemies".

"We hope for an early realization of complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula through a North Korea-U.S. summit and dialogue of various levels, starting with the abolition of the nuclear test site", ministry spokesman Baik Tae-hyun told a news briefing.

Pompeo defined "denuclearization" as Trump's goal for North Korea to eliminate its nuclear weapons arsenal, and its capacity to develop and deliver such weapons.

The change in tone came after North Korean officials blasted national security adviser John Bolton for suggesting that North Korea would quickly eliminate its weapons of mass destruction as Libya did - a move North Korean leaders see as a risky approach that could end with Kim facing the same deadly fate as former Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi.

North Korea has always justified its nuclear program as a deterrent against perceived USA hostility. A senior Iranian official said it showed the United States was seeking regime change in Iran.

America's superpower rivals were tracking the developments closely.

Iran's presence in Syria at Damascus' demand: Tehran
Nevertheless, an Iranian lawmaker quoted by Lebanon's Al-Manar television network, denied his country was behind the barrage. He and his counterpart hailed the beginning of the "political process" in Syria amid an ongoing "fight against terrorism".

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