Caution likely to guide next steps in Koreas talks — Analysis

Kim Jong Un second left meets members of South Korean delegation headed by National Security Director Chung Eui-yong in Pyongyang North Korea

"The North expressed its willingness to hold a heartfelt dialogue with the United States on the issues of denuclearization and normalizing relations with the United States", a South Korean statement read, according to the state-run news agency of the South Korean government, Yonhap.

Kim Jong-Un's older half-brother had once been seen as their father Kim Jong-Il's natural heir, and some reports had suggested that China might be grooming him to replace the younger man in the event of a crisis.

"We welcome the development of positive trends in the inter-Korean dialogue in light of the visit by the South Korean president's special envoy to Pyongyang, which took place on March 5-6", the diplomat said. But he must first broker better ties between the North and Washington, which is Seoul's top ally and its military protector.

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged all sides to seize the opportunity presented by the talks to move toward "sustainable peace and denuclearization".

As Trump said in a tweet on Tuesday: "the U.S.is ready to go hard in either direction".

"It was a shining victory for us in our struggle to achieve a parity in power with the U.S. that we have come to develop hydrogen bombs and ICBMs", it said.

U.S. intelligence officials were doubtful about Tuesday's alleged progress. "I seriously doubt it", Coats told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday.

In March, North Korea tested a new rocket engine which state media said represented a "great leap forward" for the country's rocket industry.

Kim also said he would "understand" if the South goes ahead with delayed joint military exercises with the U.S. that usually infuriate Pyongyang, a senior official at the South's presidential office added.

Sen. James M. Inhofe, the Oklahoma Republican who chairs the committee, then asked Ashley about the possibility of successful talks with North Korea. They have been down this road twice before and they both know the value of a healthy dose of caution.

The global reaction to the recent talks has been nothing unexpected: undue focus has been placed on North Korea's "willingness" to give up its nuclear program, with little attention paid to the somewhat vague conditions Pyongyang stipulates.

Over the last three decades, North Korea has secretly lurched forward in its nuclear capabilities even during sporadic periods of engagement and diplomacy with the U.S. and other world powers.

The Reuters further reported that the new restrictions are mainly on "new or used vessels", electrical equipment, food and farm products and wood, the government said in the statement.

"By referring to the wishes of the forefathers, all internal conflict has been eliminated", Koo said, adding: "That's the best card Kim Jong Un can use". Analysts said if the missile were to be fired on a standard, flatter trajectory, it would be capable of reaching Alaska.

And that makes this week the last chance for teams to earn a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament, stay close to home - or simply earn a bid.

In return for a security guarantee - likely a US promise not to attack or overthrow the Kim regime - Chung said that the North was willing to suspend and ultimately abandon nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

This points to a few possible strategies North Korea may be playing out, and they range from innocent to sinister.

Japan has responded cautiously to the South Korean announcement of summit talks, saying Tokyo's policy of keeping maximum pressure on North Korea is unchanged.

Relations again deteriorated when the United States froze North Korean accounts at a Macau bank in late 2005 and accused it of money laundering and when Pyongyang conducted its first nuclear test in October 2006.

The two Koreas have endured under an uneasy cease-fire since the Korean War ended in a stalemate in 1953. The house is just over the southern side of the borderline.

But the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in the South triggered an apparent transformation, with Kim sending his sister to the opening ceremony, sparking a flurry of cross-border trips as South Korean President Moon Jae-in moved to broker talks between Pyongyang and Washington.

While the offer of talks could ease tensions, the adversaries will still have to overcome deep mutual suspicion.

The rogue state wants to loosen these sanctions. It could also be "false hope", the American leader said.

Information for this article was contributed by Anna Fifield, Philip Rucker, Karen DeYoung and Brian Murphy of The Washington Post; by Robert Burns, Hyung-jin Kim, Darlene Superville and Matthew Pennington of The Associated Press; and by Rick Gladstone of The New York Times.

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