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Trump is open to more talks with North Korea despite missile programme reactivating

photo by AP photo

Donald Trump is eager for a foreign policy win on North Korea, which eluded his predecessors for decades.

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09th-Mar-2019       
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Reuters, Washington :
U.S. President Donald Trump is open to additional talks with Pyongyang over denuclearisation, his national security adviser said on Thursday, despite reports that North Korea is reactivating parts of its missile programme.
New activity has been detected at a factory that produced North Korea's first intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) capable of reaching the United States, South Korea's JoongAng Ilbo and Donga Ilbo newspapers reported, citing lawmakers briefed by the National Intelligence Service.
This week, two U.S. think tanks and Seoul's spy agency said North Korea was rebuilding its Sohae rocket launch site, prompting Trump to say he would be "very, very disappointed" in North Korean leader Kim Jong Un if it were true. The think tanks said on Thursday that they believed the launch site was operational again.
Asked on Thursday if he was disappointed about recent North Korean activity, Trump told reporters: "It's disappointing," while adding without elaborating: "We'll see. We'll let you know in about a year."
The reports of North Korean activity raise more questions about the future of the dialogue Trump has pursued with Kim after a second summit between them broke down in Vietnam last week.
White House National Security Adviser John Bolton, who has argued for a tough approach to North Korea, said Trump was still open to more talks with the country.
"The president's obviously open to talking again. We'll see when that might be scheduled or how it might work out," he told Fox News, adding it was too soon to make a determination on the reports of the North Korean activities. "We're going to study the situation carefully. As the president said, it would be very, very disappointing if they were taking this direction."
The Vietnam summit on Feb. 27-28 collapsed over differences about how far North Korea was willing to limit its nuclear programme and the degree of U.S. willingness to ease economic sanctions.
Trump, eager for a big foreign policy win on North Korea, which has eluded his predecessors for decades, has repeatedly stressed his good relationship with Kim. He went as far late last year as saying they "fell in love," but the bonhomie has failed so far to bridge the wide gap between the two sides.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday he was hopeful he would send a delegation to North Korea for more talks in the next couple of weeks, but that he had received "no commitment yet."
A senior State Department official told reporters on Thursday that Washington was keen to resume talks as soon as possible, but North Korea's negotiators needed to be given more latitude than they were ahead of the summit.

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