Published: Fri, September 07, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

South Korea: North wants to denuclearize before end of Trump’s first term

South Korea: North wants to denuclearize before end of Trump’s first term

It will be the third meeting between the two leaders this year, as Moon makes a major effort to improve relations with the North in the hope this will convince Kim scale back or abandon his nuclear arsenal.

"Chairman Kim Jong Un has made it clear several times that he is firmly committed to denuclearization, and he expressed frustration over skepticism in the global community over his commitment", South Korean national security adviser Chung Eui-yong said.

Kim emphasised that his "trust in Trump remains unchanged" despite the difficulties, Chung said, and expressed his intention to work closely with the U.S. to achieve denuclearisation "in the first official term of President Trump". The president added that he looked forward to seeing Kim again.

Last month, President Trump cancelled Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's planned trip to North Korea. Mr. Kim said he'd take "more active" measures toward denuclearisation if his moves are met with corresponding goodwill measures, Mr. Chung said.

Kim told Chung that work to dismantle the only missile engine test site in North Korea "means a complete suspension of future long-range ballistic missile tests".

"Looks like Kim is trying to wash away worries that talks could stall or fail, knowing well that Washington is losing patience", said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean Studies at Dongguk University in Seoul.

Trump thanked Kim for his trust in a tweet early Thursday.

North Korea's state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) confirmed in a report on Thursday that Mr Kim has reaffirmed his commitment to make the Korean Peninsula nuclear-free in his "candid" meeting with Mr Chung.

The delegation to the North announced that they had set up a summit for September 18-20 in Pyongyang between the North Korean leader and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, their third meeting since April.

But interpreting them required several caveats: Kim only said that he wanted to realize denuclearization before early 2021 - not commit to doing it - and he didn't provide a clearer definition for the term, something that has emerged as a sticking point with the U.S. But U.S. officials say North Korea must take more serious disarmament measures.

South Korea's Yonhap News on Thursday quoted analysts who took Kim's remarks as a positive sign.

In previous, failed talks, North Korea has said it could consider giving up its nuclear programme if the United States provided security guarantees by removing troops from South Korea and withdrawing its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from the South and Japan.

"A liason office between the North and South will also be established", he said. "It seems that the North wants the South Korean government well aware of its intentions to persuade the U.S.in order to advance the overall process", Koh pointed out. Post-summit nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang were rocky and quickly settled into a stalemate. The U.S. president gave Moon's envoys a message to deliver to Kim Jong Un, who gave the officials a statement to send to the White House.

The two Koreas technically remain at war as the 1950-53 war ended only with an armistice, not a peace treaty. Kim reportedly complained about the USA negotiating in bad faith and regretted the doubts raised about his commitment to peace.

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