The North Korean President, Kim Jong Un, wants to realise denuclearisation during the U.S. President , Donald Trump’s first term – giving a timeline for the first time – and has agreed to a third summit with his South Korean counterpart, Seoul officials said.
Kim and the South Korean President, Moon Jae-in, will meet in Pyongyang on Sept. 18-20 and will discuss 'practical measures' toward denuclearisation, Moon’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, said on Thursday..
The summit could in turn provide renewed momentum to talks over denuclearlisation between North Korea and the United States, after Trump cancelled a visit to the North by his secretary of state last month citing a lack of progress. Kim told South Korean officials his faith in Trump was 'unchanged' and he wanted denuclearisation and an end to hostile relations with the United States within Trump’s first term in office,
'He particularly emphasised that he has never said anything negative about President Trump,' Chung said. The remarks represent Kim’s first timeline for dismantling North Korea’s nuclear weapons programme.
North Korea has said in previous, failed talks over the years that it could consider giving up its nuclear programme if the United States provided security guarantees by removing its troops from South Korea and withdrawing its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from South Korea and Japan.
U.S. officials involved in negotiations have said North Korea has refused to even start discussions about defining “denuclearisation” or other key terms such as “verifiable” and “irreversible”, and have insisted the United States must first agree to take simultaneous steps to reduce economic pressure.
Chung said Kim had stressed the need for the US to reciprocate North Korea’s initial moves, which have included dismantling a nuclear test site and a missile engine facility. The U.S. Embassy in Seoul said it had no information on the matter.
Kim and Trump held a landmark summit in Singapore in June, in which they agreed to work toward complete denuclearisation. But negotiations have made little headway, while signs North Korea has maintained work on its weapons have emerged. In this year’s talks, the two have been at odds over whether denuclearisation or declaring an end to the 1950-53 Korean War should come first.
The war ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, meaning U.S.-led U.N. forces, including South Korea, are technically still at war with the North.
North Korea has long sought a formal end to the war but U.S. officials have said an end-of-war declaration could weaken North Korea’s incentive for denuclearisation, and raise questions about the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea, a legacy of the three-year war.
U.S. officials also say they have already made concessions, such as halting joint military exercises with South Korea. The U.S. Secretary of State, Mr. Mike Pompeo, visited Pyongyang in July, after which North Korea accused him of making 'unilateral and gangster-like demands for denuclearisation' while showing little interest in ending the war.
The US, however, has said it is committed to building a peace mechanism if North Korea denuclearises. 'Looks like Kim is trying to wash away worries that talks could stall or fail, knowing well that Washington is losing patience,'said Dr. Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean Studies at Dongguk University in Seoul.
'Kim also made it clear that he needs some kind of proof Trump has abandoned the U.S.’s hostile policy before moving toward denuclearisation. Kim is trying to prove his sincerity.'