Syria's Assad to meet Kim in North Korea

Who's going to pay for Kim Jong Un's hotel stay?

Syrian President Bashar al-Assad receiving diplomatic credentials from North Korea's newly-appointed ambassador to Damascus Mun Jong-nam in Damascus.

Now that President Trump has declared the meeting back on, after canceling it last week, it's a question that may need to be answered swiftly.

"They basically agreed to establish a liaison office in the North Korean border town of Kaesong". Washington Post photo by John Hudson. I don't say and I've never said it happens in one meeting. USA planners, the people told the Post, are considering asking Singapore to foot the bill.

"The relationships are building and that's very positive", he said.

Still, the heavily sanctioned and isolated regime has a long history of making bold monetary demands.

But it is the meeting in Singapore on 12 June with President Trump that is the most high-profile and which has the most at stake, with the United States demanding the full denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula and the North seeking to ease crippling sanctions.

"These norms were laid in the early 2000s, when Seoul's so-called "sunshine policy" took off", said Sung-Yoon Lee, an expert on Korea at Tufts University, referring to a policy of rapprochement associated with former South Korean President Kim Dae-jung.

No date for the visit was mentioned by the North Korea's KCNA news agency.

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To make matters worse, the Kim family will sell nearly any weapons technology it creates, even going so far as to build Syria a nuclear reactor - which was destroyed by Israel - only roughly a decade ago.

A host country has covered travel costs for foreign leaders in the past, CBS News reported. In return for the USA security guarantee of the North Korean regime, North Korea can agree to dismantle nuclear facilities and remove nuclear warheads from the country.

Many of those issues have been secondary to the major decision of selecting a venue space for the two leaders to meet.

Earlier reports suggested the USA might find a way to discreetly pay the tab.

While South Korea defence chief Song Young Moo suggested giving Mr Kim the benefit of the doubt, his Japanese counterpart Itsunori Onodera sounded a more cautious tone, warning the audience of Pyongyang having previously reneged on a promise to denuclearise.

White House and State Department officials declined to comment to the Post on the advance team planning details.

And when Kim's right-hand man Kim Yong Chol delivered it to President Trump at the White House on Friday (Jun 1), it was clear communications between the two leaders were anything but conventional. "We continue to raise pressure and don't allow loopholes" in global economic sanctions targeting the country, he said.

"I think Mike Pompeo's statement and President Trump himself, I guess, alluded to a situation where they now realize that, you know, getting North Korea denuclearized may require more time and effort than they have initially thought".

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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