Is North Korea's timeline to denuclearise for real?

Kim Jong Un left and South Korean President Moon Jae-in cross the military demarcation line at the border village of Panmunjom in the Demilitarized Zone that divides the North and South

Korea Summit Press Pool via AP File

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has agreed to "cooperate closely" with the US - even possibly accepting "stronger" denuclearization measures - a top South Korean official said Thursday, amid an apparent rift over progress in U.S.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in's national security chief, Chung Eui-yong, who led a special delegation to the North Korean capital a day earlier to meet Kim, told a televised news conference that the two sides had also set the date for Moon's visit to Pyongyang for September 18 to 20. Chung made the announcement Thursday in Seoul.

Kim told South Korean officials his faith in Trump was "unchanged" and that he wanted denuclearization and an end to hostile relations with the United States before Trump's first term in office ends in early 2021, Chung said.

So says South Korean president Moon Jae-in, anyway, who has a big investment in pushing forward on the peace process with Kim Jong-un.

Thursday, Chung told reporters about his talks with Kim.

The report said it was Kim's "will to completely remove the danger of armed conflict and horror of war from the Korean peninsula and turn it into the cradle of peace without nuclear weapons and free from nuclear threat". The official added that Kim also promised to cooperate with both South Korea and the United States. Trump wrote on Twitter.

Trump has welcomed Kim Jong-un's remarks saying his faith in the United States president remains unchanged.

Kim also reaffirmed his nation's commitment to "actively engage in denuclearization if the countermeasures are taken simultaneously" and "expressed frustration that his goodwill is not being properly delivered to the worldwide community".

Several measures were meant to show the North's willingness to end its banned weapons programs. "We haven't had any nuclear tests, we haven't had any missile tests, which we consider a great thing". The State Department didn't announce any travel by Mr. Biegun to North Korea. They are believed to be those of American soldiers who died in the Korean War.

The South Korean delegation came to Pyongyang as U.S.

It said: "The North and the South should further their efforts to realize the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula".

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The enthusiastic comments came 12 days after Trump summarily cancelled a trip to Pyongyang by his top diplomat, Mike Pompeo, which was aimed at getting the discussions on North Korea's nuclear talks back on track three months after Trump's landmark summit with Kim in Singapore. They say the North has often sought to gain economic aid and then failed to keep its promises.

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un (L) shakes hands with South Korea's President Moon Jae-in (R) at the Military Demarcation Line that divides their countries ahead of their summit at the truce village of Panmunjom on April 27, 2018.

The most recent developments come as North Korea prepares to mark its 70 anniversary on September 9.

According to China's General Administration of Customs, official trade between China and North Korea in the first seven months of this year was $1.3 billion, a 56.2 percent drop compared from the same period of 2017.

Stephen Noerper is a senior director at the Korea Society in New York City.

China responded by loosening numerous sanctions agreed by the United Nations Security Council and has since allowed North Korean products and workers to flow into China at an accelerated rate, NBC reports. "He expressed his strong will to carry out more proactive measures toward denuclearization if action is taken in response to the North's preemptive steps".

The US embassy in Seoul said it had no information to share on the matter.

For his part, Trump has also maintained that his relationship with Kim "is a very good and warm one", and that he is open to another meeting with the leader.

"From Oct. 10 to 14, the USS Ronald Reagan will participate in the 2018 Republic of Korea global naval review, and for this goal will enter Jeju", a South Korea military source said, according to News 1. Kelly Jean Kelly was the editor.

Mario Ritter adapted it for VOA Learning English from VOA, AP and Reuters sources.

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