Published: Sun, October 07, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Seoul: North Korea estimated to have 20-60 nuclear weapons

Seoul: North Korea estimated to have 20-60 nuclear weapons

Nuclear diplomacy later stalled due to suspicions over how honest North Korea is about its disarmament pledge, but U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is to visit Pyongyang this month to set up a second summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Kang told reporters Thursday that she expects the US and North Korea will hold concrete discussions on a denuclearization process while keeping in mind the possibility of bringing their leaders together again.

Pompeo is expected to attempt to set up a second summit between Kim and President Trump, who previously met face-to-face in Singapore this past June and issued a vague statement pledging to remove nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula.

A top South Korean official told lawmakers that North Korea is estimated to have up to 60 nuclear weapons, in Seoul's first public comment about the size of the North's secrecy-clouded weapons arsenal.

But other cybersecurity experts tell the Associated Press that they also see continued signs that North Korea's authoritarian government, which has a long track record of criminality to raise cash, is conducting malign activity online.

Rodong Sinmun praised Ri for discussing "improved bilateral relationships" with countries like China, Russia, Venezuela, and Brazil, but avoided mentioning his meetings with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

Nauert said the meetings in Japan, South Korea and China were meant to brief counterparts on the talks in Pyongyang.

"We will never beg the United States to lift sanctions", it said.

Pompeo brushed aside suggestions of differences between himself and Trump over a timeline for North Korea to give up its nuclear weapons.

The meeting between Pompeo and Kim may also chart a possible second meeting between the two leaders.

National Foundation Day, also known as gaecheonjeol, is celebrated on October 3 in both the South and North to mark the establishment of the first Korean kingdom, Gojoseon, in 2333 B.C. The holiday is considered the founding date of the Korean race. "So I was reiterating this as a time line that they were potentially prepared to agree to", Pompeo said at the State Department.

On Tuesday, North Korea's state-run broadcaster again called the demands for a nuclear inventory "rubbish".

Even some skeptics, though, acknowledge that the current dialogue has brought rewards in terms of an end to nuclear and missile testing and reduced tensions.

Earlier that day, North Korea's Ri struck a different tone, telling the United Nations that continued USA sanctions were deepening Pyongyang's mistrust in the United States and there was no way the country would disarm unilaterally under such circumstances.

While speaking at a rally in Wheeling, West Virginia, over the weekend, Trump said that he and Kim "fell in love".

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