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President Donald Trump says the US wants to see sanctions against North Korea continue for now.

Trump, speaking ahead of closed-door talks at the White House with Moon, said it "isn't the right time" for signing off on sanctions exemptions for inter-Korean projects, including the reopening of the Kaesong industrial facility and Mount Kumgang tourism site, which Moon and Kim agreed to during their third summit in September a year ago. But he was adamant in his stance that the sanctions would remain in place until Pyongyang commits to giving up its entire nuclear arsenal.

Washington and Pyongyang have been at an impasse since Trump's second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Việt Nam in February collapsed without a deal.

Trump's mention of holding back on increasing sanctions appeared to be a reference to a tweet he sent last month saying he was withdrawing new measures aimed at North Korea that were just issued by his own administration. But Pyongyang said it asked only for a partial lifting of the sanctions in exchange for dismantling its main nuclear site.

With Kim Jong Un personally taking an unprecedented role in global engagement, Choe's role may evolve.

In an expected move, KCNA also reported that Kim Jong Un has been re-elected as chairman of the State Affairs Commission.

Since early 2018, Mr Kim has embarked on a push for economic development and worldwide engagement, including historic summits with the leaders of the United States, China and South Korea.

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Kim made no mention of nuclear weapons, nor did he criticise his United States counterpart, according to KCNA.

Kim was elected to the post first in June 2016, when the commission was created through an amendment to the constitution. But several North Korea watchers, including Sue Mi Terry, a North Korean expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies and a former Asia analyst at the Central Intelligence Agency, said Moon was expected to try to persuade Trump - perhaps only privately - to agree to ease some sanctions to keep the talks alive.

Trump and Moon's remarks come after Kim on Wednesday vowed never to give in to sanctions, adding that Pyongyang needs to deliver a "serious blow" to those imposing it.

For his part, Moon said that the personal diplomacy between Trump and Kim has brought "dramatic, significant reduction of military tension on the Korean Peninsula". "I think it's been very productive".

On Tuesday, Kim also stressed the need to maintain the party's strategic line of focusing on economic development, with a "spirit of self-reliance", given what he called the current "tense situation", according to KCNA. "From time to time, there are particular provisions, if we are making substantial progress, where one might think it's the right thing to do".

The parliament is officially North Korea's highest organ of state but it only meets once or twice a year to rubber-stamp decisions made by the country's leaders.


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