North Korean officials removed as Kim changes direction

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Kim Jong Un has reportedly fired North Korea's top three military generals in what appears to be an attempt to quash dissent ahead of a summit with Donald Trump.

"I am going to visit the DPRK and meet HE Kim Jong Un", Assad was quoted saying in the report, using the initials for North Korea's official name and referring to Kim using letters that stand for "his excellency".

According to Fox News, the communist leader wants to open the fast-service restaurant in Pyongyang as both North Korean officials and their USA counterparts prepare for potential denuclearization negotiations.

But efforts may have been frustrated, owing to North Korea's lack of cooperation with initial US weapon demands, a South Korean foreign ministry official told the paper.

Both countries have faced worldwide isolation - North Korea over its nuclear weapons program, and Syria over its tactics during its bloody civil war.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Kim was invited to take part in an economic forum held in the far eastern city of Vladivostok in September.

Other replaced officials include Pak Yong Sik and Ri Myong Su.

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Trump also said that there would be no new sanctions while the talks are taking place, although the White House was at pains to say existing economic sanctions will not be removed either. Inspections must have complete access to all nuclear related sites and facilities with real time verification of North Korean compliance.

Asked by reporters whether Kim had asked about the troop level in South Korea, Trump said they had "talked about nearly everything".

Now, the future of the USFK is being questioned amid speculation that the issue could be raised during the US-North Korea summit on June 12, prompting debate over what role the troops would play in the event of a diplomatic breakthrough between Washington and Pyongyang.

"This is where you would send someone you could trust", said Hong Min, head of North Korea research at the state-run Korea Institute for National Unification in Seoul.

Suspicions over chemical weapons trade between Pyongyang and Damascus have been raised in the past by the United Nations and South Korea.

In a remarkable shift in tone eight days after canceling the summit, citing Pyongyang's "open hostility", Trump welcomed North Korea's former intelligence chief, Kim Yong Chol, to the White House on Friday, exchanging smiles and handshakes.

Washington insiders believe there was anger and growing frustration among Kim's top officials over his handling of talks with the US.