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Sunday, June 3, 2018

No N. Korea relief until verifiable denuclearisation steps: Mattis!

S. Korea's National Defence Minister Song Young-moo, US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis and Japan's Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera shake hands before their meeting in Singapore.

  • Trump said on Friday he would hold the meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12.
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said on Sunday North Korea will receive relief only after it takes clear and irreversible steps to end its nuclear programme, adding it would be a bumpy road to a summit between US and North Korean leaders.

The comments sought to address concern the United States may be rushing to strike a breakthrough in the unprecedented summit between the two leaders after US President Donald Trump put the meeting back on track for June 12 in Singapore."We can anticipate, at best, a bumpy road to the (negotiations)," Mattis said at the start of a meeting with his South Korean and Japanese counterparts on the sidelines of Shangri-la dialogue in Singapore.

"We will continue to implement all UN Security Council resolutions on North Korea. North Korea will receive relief only when it demonstrates verifiable and irreversible steps to denuclearisation," Mattis added.

Trump said on Friday he would hold the meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on June 12 in a dramatic turn of course in the high stakes diplomacy aimed at ending Pyongyang's nuclear weapons programme.

Eight days after cancelling the summit citing Pyongyang's "hostility", Trump announced the decision to go ahead with the meeting after hosting Kim's envoy in the White House, saying he expected "very positive result" with North Korea. North Korea's nuclear weapons programme has been a source of major security tensions that persisted despite a series of UN and US sanctions and it has also demonstrated advances in ballistic missile technology that experts believe now threatens the US mainland.

Japanese Defence Minister Itsunori Onodera said that while the solution to the North Korean nuclear crisis must be diplomatic, the defence cooperation among the United States and its Asian allies was key to bringing it about.

"Japan, Korea and the US continue to agree that pressure is needed to be applied on North Korea," Onodera told reporters.

Assad plans to visit N. Korea

Syrian President Bashar Al Assad said he plans to visit Kim Jong-un, North Korean state media reported, potentially the first meeting between Kim and another head of state in Pyongyang.

"I am going to visit the DPRK and meet HE Kim Jong-un," Assad said on May 30, North Korea's KCNA news agency reported. There was no immediate comment from the Syrian president's office. Assad reportedly made the remarks as he received the credentials of N. Korean Ambassador Mun Jong Nam.

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