South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday that North Korea is expressing its commitment to “complete denuclearization” and is “not suggesting the U.S. troops’ withdrawal or other conditions that the United States will find unacceptable.” His remarks suggest that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed his will to accept the “complete denuclearization” demand when he met with U.S. Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo.
“What North Korea is saying are just an end to the hostile policy against it and then a guarantee of its regime,” President Moon said at a meeting with the top executives of 48 local news outlets at his office Cheong Wa Dae. “The North Korea-U.S. talks are being sought for because those points have been confirmed.” The remarks suggest it has been confirmed that the North Korean leader expressed his commitment to complete denuclearization and demanded a guarantee of his regime in return during a secret meeting with Pompeo.
“It is not easy (to reach an agreement on) how the goals are concretely realized,” Moon said. “Ultimately, it requires an agreement between North Korea and the United States.” He also stressed that the biggest challenge is to “overcome the devil that is in the detail,” suggesting that there is still a considerable gap between Washington’s demand of the North’s denuclearization in a minimum period of time and Pyongyang’s calls for “progressive and synchronous measures” for denuclearization.
In a related move, U.S. President Donald Trump said during a meeting with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Wednesday (local time) that that a "bright path" lies ahead for the North if Kim commits to “complete, verifiable and irreversible” denuclearization.
However, Trump also said that if he does not think the planned summit with Kim will be successful, will not happen. “If the meeting when I'm there is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting, and will continue what we're doing or whatever it is that will continue,” he warned.
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