North Korea Demanded That US Remove Weapons From Guam, Hawaii: Fmr CIA Korea Chief

The February summit between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un broke down in part over North Korea's insistence that the United States remove the strategic nuclear umbrella and the dismantling of the Indian Pacific Command, according to South Korea's DongAciting the CIA's former Korea Mission Center Chief Andrew Kim. 

Speaking at a lecture of the Stanford University alumni conference in Seoul on March 20, Kim added that North Korean officials demanded that they be allowed to develop weapons that can be deployed on the Korean Peninsula. They have also requested sanctions relief. 

Kim said that North Korea has not been able to elaborate on specific steps to denuclearize during negotiations between representatives, and that North Korea's special envoy Kim Hyeok-Cheol would not commit to anything - even using the word "denuclearization." 

When pressed for specific demands for sanctions relief, North Korea demanded that foreigners be allowed to resume tours in the Mount Kumgang region in North Korea, as well as the "special economic zone" of Kaesong - a border town with South Korea which at one point employed over 50,000 North Korean workers. In 2016, the South Korean Ministry of Unification shut down the joint industrial venture after suggesting it was a source of hard currency to bankroll North Korea's nuclear program. 

Meanwhile, the relationship between North and South Korea has continued to deteriorate, as North Korea is withdrawing from a join liaison office near the demilitarized zone (DMZ), according to CNN

The move comes after the US slapped two Chinese firms with sanctions for doing business with Pyongyang, the first action taken by Washington against North Korea since the second summit between North Korean leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump in Hanoi ended early with no agreement.

South Korea's Unification Ministry announced the move Friday, saying the decision had been taken by the North on "instructions from the superior authority."

    In its communication with the South, Pyongyang said it would not mind Seoul's representatives "remaining in the office," which is based in Kaesong, a part of North Korea near the de facto border between the two countries. -CNN

    "We regard such a withdrawal as very sad and unfortunate (and) we hope that the North will return shortly and hope that the liaison contact office will operate normally as soon as possible," said South Korea's Vice Minister of Unification Chun Hae-sung at a Friday press conference. 

    Last Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted that North Korea is keeping open the possibility of continued talks after reports from Pyongyang's deputy foreign minister that they may walk away from negotiations completely. 

    Following the Hanoi summit, the US and South Korea canceled major war games on the Korean Peninsula that have long irritated North Korea, in order to "support diplomatic efforts" with Pyongyang.