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North Korea could propose military restrictions with U.S. over weekend

By Elizabeth Shim
North Korea could propose military restrictions with U.S. over weekend
South Korean soldiers stand guard at the joint security area of Panmunjom in the demilitarized zone near Paju, South Korea. File Photo by Keizo Mori/UPI | License Photo

July 13 (UPI) -- North Korea may raise the issue of military training with the United States during talks planned for Sunday, an analyst said Friday, after the U.S. State Department agreed to a fresh round of military-level talks with North Korea.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert had said Thursday the North Korean offer had come "midday" after Pyongyang canceled talks scheduled for Thursday.

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The Trump administration will be ready, Nauert said.

Pyongyang may be interested in taking the conversation beyond the scope of U.S. war remains, which would have been the topic of discussion at Panmunjom on Thursday.

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Ko Yu-hwan, a South Korean analyst at Dongguk University, said the talks may not be solely focused on the return of remains, local news network JTBC reported.

"[Joint] military training, military threats and further restrictions on military activities could be discussed," Ko said Friday.

North Korea could be looking for an opportunity to build on the momentum of the latest developments, including the cancellation of a joint U.S.-South Korea drill in August.

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Plans to resume U.S.-North Korea talks come after President Donald Trump tweeted a "very nice" note from Kim Jong Un.

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"A very nice note from Chairman Kim of North Korea. Great progress being made!" Trump tweeted, including screenshots of the letter and a translation of the original written in Korean.

Kim Dong-yup, a South Korean analyst at the Institute for Far East Studies of Kyungnam University, said the message reflects the "continuing trend of trust between President Trump and Kim Jong Un," Newsis reported Friday.

The letter from Kim made no references to denuclearization, a key U.S. objective in its negotiations with North Korea.

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