North Korea will never completely give up its nuclear weapons, a top defector said ahead of leader Kim Jong-un's landmark summit with United States President Donald Trump next month.The current whirlwind of diplomacy and negotiations will not end with "a honest and complete disarmament" but with "a reduced North Korean nuclear threat", said Thae Yong-ho, who fled his post as the North's Deputy Ambassador to Britain in August 2016.
They will be the first such talks since the leaders of the two Koreas agreed to work toward peace and the "complete denuclearization" of the divided peninsula during their landmark April 27 summit, which was held in the border truce village of Panmunjom.
It announced the upcoming dismantlement of the Punggye-ri nuclear research facility, which hosted all six of the country's underground nuclear tests.
However, analysts believe the closure of the site is largely symbolic and doesn't represent a material step towards denuclearisation.
"What Chairman Kim (Jong Un) will get from America is our finest - our entrepreneurs, our risk-takers, our capital providers", he said.
On Wednesday, Mr Trump tweeted that three Americans detained by Pyongyang had been released and were on their way home with Mr Pompeo.
North Korea invited foreign journalists from the U.S., China, Russia, U.K. and South Korea to attend the event.
"Those are the kind of things that, if we get what it is the President has demanded - the complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearisation (CVID) of North Korea - that the American people will offer in spades", Mr Pompeo said on "Fox News Sunday".
A high-level South Korean government official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said Monday that Seoul explained to Washington multiple times through "various routes" that the United States could benefit from economically engaging with North Korea because the reclusive country had market value.
The head of the UN's World Food Programme said on Saturday it appeared North Korea was "turning a new page in history", following a four-day visit to the country.
"Barring a catastrophic error by Kim, what he has created with his first summits makes it impossible to return to the maximum pressure policy", Joseph DeThomas, a former US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Nonproliferation, wrote last week for 38 North.
Given the stage it had already reached, Pyongyang "may feel like they don't need to test anything for a while", he said.
However, unlike communist China that successfully opened its economy to foreign investment and capitalism, North Korea remains an opaque business environment with unclear tax and investment laws, that views foreign involvement with suspicion, and restricts its own people from contacting the outside world.
If one thinks back about two months ago, Kim and his entourage rode in a luxury train to Peking for a weekend.