Saturday, 21 July, 2018

North Korea Is Willing to Discuss Giving Up Nuclear Weapons, South Says

Chung Eui-Yong right head of the presidential National Security Office shakes hands with North Korean leader Kim North Korea Is Willing to Discuss Giving Up Nuclear Weapons, South Says
Melinda Barton | 06 March, 2018, 20:18

If North Korea shows a willingness to disarm during the visit by the South Koreans, there is speculation that it and Washington could set up their own talks on the North's nuclear weapons.

Suh Hoon, the chief of the South's National Intelligence Service, will jointly lead Seoul's delegation of about five to six officials along with Moon's top national security advisor Chung Eui-Yong, Yonhap news agency said, citing an unnamed official at Moon's office.

Under the agreement, North Korea will also cease nuclear and missile tests while the two sides are engaged in talks, and establish a hotline for communication between the two sides' leaders.

It was the first time the reclusive North Korean leader had met South Korean officials.

Vice President Mike Pence says the US will not alter its stance toward North Korea without evidence of credible, verifiable and concrete steps toward denuclearization.

"The North also said it can have frank talks with the United States on denuclearisation and the normalisation of ties between North Korea and the United States", Chung said. -South Korean war games that were postponed because of the Olympics but will likely happen later this spring.

Previous year saw increased fears of war on the Korean Peninsula, with Kim and President Donald Trump exchanging fiery rhetoric and crude insults over Kim's barrage of weapons tests. The North, which has vowed never to give up its nuclear deterrent in the face of US "hostility", says it will not sit down to talks under preconditions.

After meeting with their counterparts from the DPRK, two members of the South Korean delegation attended a welcome dinner with Kim Jong-un, marking the first time the DPRK's leader has ever met with officials from the South. Kim personally extended an invitation to the South Korean leader to hold an inter-Korean summit.

President Donald Trump was referring to his South Korean counterpart on Saturday evening when he cryptically recounted a telephone call he'd taken about opening talks with North Korea.

The United States has also made it clear that it doesn't want empty talks with North Korea and that all options, including military measures, remain on the table.

Cheong Wa Dae said Chung and Suh will visit Washington shortly after their return from the communist North to explain the outcome of their trip to Pyongyang.