Kim ready to discuss denuclearisation: US
Washington, April 9
North Korean officials have told their US counterparts that Kim Jong Un is ready to discuss “denuclearisation”, an assurance that could pave the way for a planned meeting with President Donald Trump, reports said.
In response, Trump said he would meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month or in early June. Speaking to reporters before a cabinet meeting, Trump said the summit would be sometime in “May or early June.”
It is the first time Pyongyang has made the offer of a summit directly to Washington, after its invitation was previously conveyed through a South Korean envoy. “The US has confirmed that Kim Jong Un is willing to discuss the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula,” a Trump administration official told The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post on Sunday.
Washington stunned observers when it announced last month it had agreed to a historic first meeting between Trump and Kim, to be held by the end of May.
The North’s offer to meet was delivered to the White House by the South Korea’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong, who had met Kim Jong during a visit to Pyongyang days earlier.
But Pyongyang has failed to publicly confirm the offer since, beyond a commentary from its state-run KCNA news agency noting the “dramatic atmosphere for reconciliation” with the South and “a sign of change” with the US.
This silence had made US officials nervous that Seoul had overstated the North’s willingness to negotiate over its own nuclear arsenal, the Wall Street Journal reported.
No specifics have yet emerged concerning the date or venue of the proposed summit, with a third country such as Mongolia or Sweden under consideration to host the talks, according to multiple reports in media.
Washington’s long-held stance is that it will not accept a nuclear-armed North Korea. That means it wants to see “complete, verifiable, and irreversible” denuclearisation — a very high bar.
The North has previously demanded the withdrawal of US troops based in the South and the end of the security alliance between Seoul and Washington — an extraordinary concession that it is hard to imagine any previous US president acceding to.
South Korea on Monday welcomed the reported offer by the North to discuss denuclearisation. “We are not a directly concerned party since it is something that is taking place between the US and North Korea, but if the reports are true, we view it positively and welcome it,” said Nam Sang-kyu, a spokesman at the South’s presidential office.