Trump angry after South Korea signals it may ease North Korea sanctions

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North Korea is the prime suspect, but has denied the accusations.

The director of China's State General Administration of Sports, Guo Zhongwen, and the Chinese ambassador to North Korea, Li Jinjun, were also present at the Pyongyang Ryugyong Chung Ju-yung Gymnasium.

Kim Il Guk, North Korea's minister of Physical Culture and Sports, said that Tuesday's game would "contribute to deepening the friendship and solidarity" between Beijing and Pyongyang, according to a North Korean state media.

Kang's remarks on sanctions, retracted after criticism from South Korean lawmakers, prompted U.S. President Donald Trump to say South Korea would need U.S. approval to relieve sanctions.

Pompeo was reportedly promised a meeting with Kim in July, but no such meeting took place.

Former NBA star Yao Ming attended a friendly basketball match between China and North Korea in Pyongyang on Thursday (Oct 11) amid warming ties between the neighbours.

During the summit in June, Kim was seen in a Mercedes-Maybach Pullman Guard armoured limousine flanked by security running alongside on foot. The U.S. military monitors North Korean military movements with drones, and expanding the no-fly zone there would be tantamount to putting blinds on U.S. spying activities.

The U.S. and North Korean leaders held their first summit in June in Singapore, where Kim pledged to work toward "complete" denuclearization of the peninsula. The North Korean official has since backtracked on those remarks. New investment in the North has been banned, and North Korean ships are not allowed to use shipping lanes in the South.

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Kim told Moon of his wish to meet the pope during a meeting last month, South Korea's presidential office said on Tuesday.

Despite the current mood of detente and negotiation between the Koreas, the removal of sanctions would be a hard decision for Seoul's government. She also described Seoul's unilateral sanctions as a key obstacle to restarting South Korean tourism to the North's Diamond Mountain resort, which was suspended in 2008 following the shooting death of a South Korean woman there.

The Foreign Ministry said in a statement there has yet to be a "full-fledged" review on the lifting of the May 24 measures. "As there are many (bilateral) sanctions overlapping the United Nations ones, it won't necessarily mean the substantive lifting (of sanctions on the North)".

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. "I think that North Korea is ready to open up, renounce nuclear weapons and build a new country", he said.

"There are also humanitarian considerations as the residents of Kaesong have to rely on the park's facility for water", Baik said.

But it is expected to create momentum for the resumption of long-stalled inter-Korean economic projects such as Kumkangsan tours and the shuttered Kaesong industrial park, as the Moon administration eyes broader economic cooperation in return for the North's denuclearization.

The military agreement touched on some issues that require negotiations with the UN Command that oversees the demilitarized zone, such as disarming soldiers in the Joint Security Area in the border truce village of Panmunjom.

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