Trump, Kim considering four locations for next summit

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and President Trump at the conclusion of their summit in Singapore in June

As for Japan's motive for hosting the planned summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the daily said Japan is likely seeking to avoid being kept from being involved in intensifying dialogue regarding the Korean Peninsula.

In a range of trial balloons released over the last week, South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha has raised the possibility of lifting bilateral sanctions against North Korea, while winning waivers on global sanctions. She cited the intent to create more diplomatic momentum for talks over North Korea's nuclear program.

Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyon said that the government had never seriously considered lifting sanctions.

South Korea is supplying water in the North Korean border town of Kaesong using a facility in a now-shuttered factory park that had been jointly operated by the rivals.

China, Russia and North Korea believe it is necessary to consider adjusting United Nations sanctions against Pyongyang at an appropriate time, China's foreign ministry said on Wednesday.

The South's dovish President Moon Jae-in favours engagement with the North and has dangled large investment and joint cross-border projects as incentives for steps towards denuclearisation.

Kang replied "Yes" on Wednesday when a lawmaker asked her whether a Japanese media report was correct that Pompeo had complained strongly about the agreement, which was announced during a summit between the Koreas in Pyongyang last month.

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Meanwhile, Kang said US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expressed displeasure over an agreement reached between the rival Koreas last month to reduce conventional military threats between them. The source added Pompeo "used strong language" in the phone call with Kang. He returned home without setting a definite date for the next meeting between Trump and Kim, though he did convince the North Korean leader to allow inspectors to visit the country's nuclear test site and confirm its demolition.

Despite the current mood of detente and negotiation between the Koreas, the removal of sanctions will be a hard decision for Seoul's government.

On Wednesday, during a National Assembly audit of her ministry, Kang raised the possibility of lifting those sanctions. Still, the lifting of the 2010 sanctions could offer at least some tangible benefits to the North.

South Koreans are deeply divided along ideological lines and many people still harbor deep anger over North Korea's 1950 attack that started the Korean War.

While some in the United States administration have indicated that denuclearization could be completed within the lifespan of the Trump administration, some experts say it could take more than a decade - assuming it is faithfully implemented, which many doubt.

One wonders how Korean leaders are supposed to negotiate, given that it was Trump who canceled Pompeo's scheduled North Korean visit in August, pointing to a lack of progress.

During Moon's visit to North Korea last month, he and Kim agreed to normalize operations at the Kaesong factory park and resume joint tours to North Korea when possible, voicing optimism that worldwide sanctions could end and allow such projects.

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