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USA: NO to the improve of civil aviation in North Korea

The United States has blocked efforts by a U.N. agency to improve civil aviation in North Korea at a time when Pyongyang is trying to reopen part of its airspace to foreign flights, three sources familiar with the matter told Reuters

aThe U.S. move is part of a negotiating tactic to maintain sanctions pressure on North Korea, one of the sources said, ahead of a second summit between President Donald Trump and leader Kim Jong Un in Vietnam in late February

Washington is seeking concrete commitments from Pyongyang at the summit to abandon its nuclear and missile programs

The United Nations’ International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), with 192 member countries, has been working with Pyongyang to open a new air route that would pass through North and South Korean airspace

Airlines currently take indirect routings to avoid North Korea due to the threat of unannounced missile launches, which have been witnessed by some passengers on commercial flights

If the space was deemed safe, international airlines could save fuel and time on some routes between Asia and Europe and North America, and North Korea could begin reviving its own commercial aviation industry

The cash-strapped country has a population of more than 25 million but its economy has been squeezed by a series of sanctions for its nuclear and ballistic missile programs

Montreal-based ICAO was prepared to help improve North Korea’s aviation system by leading training sessions between its military and civil aviation staff, two sources said

North Korea also asked ICAO for access to U.S.-produced aeronautical charts, they said

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