Two Koreas hold talks on planned August 15 family reunion

Two Koreas hold talks on planned August 15 family reunion

Two Koreas hold talks on planned August 15 family reunion

The White House said Friday that North Korea remained an "unusual and extraordinary threat" to the USA just days after President Trump declared that the rogue regime "is no longer a nuclear threat".

The comments came as North Korean leader Kim Jong Un wrapped up a two-day visit in Beijing with Chinese President Xi Jinping to discuss last week's landmark summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore.

The reunion programme began in 2000 after a historic summit between the two Koreas, and reunions were initially held every year until strained diplomatic relations lessened their regularity.

"Sleep well tonight!" Trump tweeted on June 13, the day after he and Kim met in Singapore.

The resumption of the events was agreed at an April summit between the Koreas. Park Kyung-seo, president of South Korea's Red Cross, expressed hope for talks that could "resolve the grief of our nation".

The observations were made to justify Trump's decision to extend Executive Order 13466, a decade-long state of national emergency over the threat posed to the North Korea's nuclear weapons program, by another year. Almost 20,000 Koreans have participated in 20 rounds of face-to-face temporary reunions held between the countries since 2000.

South Korean officials have often called for the visits to resume as a "humanitarian and human rights issue", especially since many individuals are now in their 80s and 90s. According to Seoul's Unification Ministry, more than 75,000 of the 132,000 South Koreans who have applied to attend a reunion have died. The North Korean delegation led by Pak Thae-song, a close aide to Kim, met with top officials of Shaanxi Province. None of the past participants has had a second reunion.

The summit pledge was followed by the United States military's postponement of major joint exercises with its ally South Korea following a pledge by Trump to halt the drills which have aroused repeated anger in the North.

President Trump announced at a cabinet meeting on Thursday that North Korea's process of total denuclearization "has already started, " citing the destruction of an engine site and four big testing sites for their missile program. North Korea may also worry that its citizens will become influenced by the much more affluent South, which could loosen the government's grip on power.

The meeting could get contentious if North Korean officials reiterate the country's demand for the return of 12 North Korean restaurant workers in return for allowing reunions. When asked by a reporter on Wednesday whether he had seen any sign that North Korea had begun steps toward denuclearization, Mattis replied, "I'm not aware of any".

"There is much demand for group tours for North Korea, because of rising Chinese interest in the North after a series of its summits with China, the USA and South Korea".

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