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Kang Kyung-wha: ‘N. Korea should promise Yongbyon nuke’s dismantlement, inspection’

Kang Kyung-wha: ‘N. Korea should promise Yongbyon nuke’s dismantlement, inspection’

Posted January. 26, 2019 07:37,   

Updated January. 26, 2019 07:37


South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha predicted that the U.S. and North Korea, which are set to hold their second summit in February, “will be able to make a comprehensive denuclearization agreement including reporting on the scale of the North’s nuclear arsenal.” She indicated that there is a chance Pyongyang will accept reporting of its nuclear weapons list at a certain phase after shutting down its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon in order to secure Washington’s commitment to ease sanctions against Pyongyang.

The South Korean foreign minister made the remarks in an interview with Reuters, while attending at the World Economic Forum in the Swiss Alpine town of Davos on Thursday. “I am positive that North Korea will agree to a concrete phase during which Pyongyang will dismantle its nuclear and ballistic missile programs,” the minister said. As for a specific phase to which Pyongyang could agree, Kang cited the North’s dismantlement of its Yongbyon nuclear facilities or core nuclear facilities in the presence of foreign experts.

“The U.S. can make several compensations to the North, in addition to the easing of sanctions,” Kang said, citing as examples the declaration of the end of the Korean War, a Washington-Pyongyang liaison office, and easing of restrictions on humanitarian aid to the North.

“If a practical measure that can serve to verify that the North is clearly on track to denuclearization can be taken, I think Washington can start thinking about lifting of sanctions,” Kang said. “Full disclosure (of North Korean nuclear weapons) should be a part of the denuclearization process. Such a comprehensive agreement should be made in phases through reciprocal actions by the two sides.” She thus indicated that in order for Washington to ease sanctions, Pyongyang should promise to make full disclosure of its nuclear weapons list if and when denuclearization process progresses to reach a certain phase, on top of dismantlement and inspection of its nuclear facilities in Yongbyon.

While the two nations have entered reconciliatory mood, it remains uncertain whether Pyongyang will accept reporting of its nuclear list. Between "the Korean People," North Korea’s propaganda media outlet targeting the South, claimed on Friday that North Korea-U.S. negotiations have remained stalled for more than six months because (the U.S.) is ridiculously demanding denuclearization before easing of sanctions.

Na-Ri Shin journari@donga.com · Ji-Hoon Lee easyhoon@donga.com