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China urges North, South Korea to 'seize opportunity'


U.S. President Donald Trump is citing "possible progress" in talks with North Korea, but says it may also be "false hope". "For the first time in many years, a serious effort is being made by all parties concerned", Mr. Trump said on Twitter. South Korea and North Korea have also agreed to hold summit talks in late April.

The caution extended by the U.S.is understandable because talks with North Korea over the past three decades have always veered off course and failed. Chung said on Tuesday he had a message from Kim Jong Un he will relay to US officials. "This public display of contempt for universal norms against chemical weapons use further demonstrates the reckless nature of North Korea and underscores that we can not afford to tolerate a North Korean WMD program of any kind", Nauert said.

The United States formally concluded Tuesday that North Korea ordered the murder of a half-brother and potential rival to ruler Kim Jong-Un with the banned VX nerve agent. Pyongyang will also suspend nuclear tests for as long as the talks are under way.

Last week, Trump responded to an overture from North Korea for talks with the U.S.by saying that will happen only "under the right conditions". On February 22, the U.S. determined under the Chemical and Biological Weapons Control and Warfare Elimination Act of 1991 (CBW Act) that the Government of North Korea used the chemical warfare agent VX to assassinate Kim Jong Nam, in the Kuala Lumpur airport, State Department Spokesperson Heather Nauert said.

North Korea has not carried out any weapons tests since late November, when it tested its largest intercontinental ballistic missile.

This image provided by Star TV on February 15, 2017, of closed circuit television footage from Feb 13, 2017, shows a woman, left, at Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang, Malaysia, who police say was arrested in connection with the death of Kim Jong Nam, the half brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.




"The North clearly expressed its willingness for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and clarified that there is no reason for them to retain nuclear weapons if military threats against North Korea are removed and if the safety of its regime is guaranteed".

The comments were made hours after a South Korean delegation led by Chung returned from a visit to the North, where they met with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

After returning from the United States, Chung will visit China and Russian Federation, while Suh Hoon, the head of South Korea's intelligence agency, will head to Japan to brief officials.

Moon's office is expected to hold a media briefing on the outcome of the visit later Tuesday.

Guterres said he was encouraged by the advances made to hold the summit and discuss future talks on the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

The rival Koreas have been taking steps to fix ties strained by North Korean nuclear weapons and missile tests after the North reached out to the South over the recently concluded Pyeongchang Olympics.

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