Yao Ming joins China delegation in North Korea for basketball match

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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 worldwide sanctions.

"No matter the substantive disagreement between the two sides, I think Seoul and Washington will move quickly to paper over his comments and maintain a facade of alignment", said Mintaro Oba, a former USA diplomat who worked on North Korea policy.

A trip by Pope Francis to North Korea is "a dream that can be realized" and would be a big step toward peace on the Korean peninsula, a senior South Korean bishop said on Thursday.

South Korea's main opposition conservatives said Wednesday talk of repealing the country's anti-communist National Security Act is comparable to building a highway for a North Korea takeover.

In her remarks to the Washington Post, Kang also differed with the USA view on the denuclearization process. USA secretary of state Michael Pompeo came away from meetings Sunday in North Korea without a date for another meeting or news on when key denuclearization milestones might take place.

The May 24 measures include the South blocking North Korea's access to the Jeju Straight.

Mr Kim's invitation will be formally delivered by President Moon of South Korea when he visits the Vatican.

The Koreas' decision to locate their liaison office in Kaesong, and also the large number of CEOs accompanying South Korean President Moon Jae-in's summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang last month, indicate that Seoul is preparing to restart inter-Korean economic projects if nuclear diplomacy begins yielding results.

The ministry denied that Pompeo was angry and added, "The government held close consultations with the U.S.in all processes involving the signing of the inter-Korean military agreement". North Korea and the U.S. continue their denuclearization talks, with their second summit in the works. The DPRK is the abbreviation of the North's official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Trump responded saying, "They won't do it without our approval".

A diplomatic source in Washington said, "Pompeo was informed of the terms to be agreed on during the inter-Korean summit and became very angry that he was not consulted in advance on issues that could have a major impact on the U.S". Trump has insisted that sanctions against North Korea remain in effect until it shows progress towards denuclearization.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has again made a mockery of the U.S. policy towards Pyongyang when meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, this time in decidedly flashy style. "As there are many (bilateral) sanctions overlapping the United Nations ones, it won't necessarily mean the substantive lifting (of sanctions on the North)".

The denuclearization process, which looked so promising when Kim and Trump met in Singapore in June, is now looking stillborn.

"Kang is biting the bullet, and indicating to North Korea that South Korea is trying its best to ease sanctions", said Go Myong-hyun, a North Korea researcher at the Asan Institute in Seoul. Other routes take more time and use more fuel. The Koreas have also resumed temporary reunions between war-separated relatives and reached military agreements to reduce tensions across the border.