In the aftermath of a rare visit of South Korean envoys to Pyongyang, Seoul announced that North Korea was open to negotiations with on giving up its nuclear weapons. Furthermore, Pyongyang had reportedly promised it would not carry out ballistic missile tests during such future talks.
Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump Photo Credit: EPA-EFE
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has told South Korea that his country was willing to discuss giving up its nuclear weapons with the US, South Korean officials told reporters on Tuesday. The statements followed a historical visit of South Korean envoys to Pyongyang, during which they held talks with regime leader Kim.
Seoul’s statement further claimed that the North said it was open discuss denuclearization if the military threat against it was eliminated, as well as that Pyongyang had promised it would not carry out “provocations” such as nuclear and ballistic missile tests while it negotiated with the US.
The two-day visit of South Korean officials marked the first time Kim had directly spoken with such a delegation since 2011. The leader was joined by his wife Ri Sol-Ju and sister Kim Yo-jong in an unprecedented four-hour meeting with the visiting envoys. During the discussions, the two sides had also agreed to hold a summit meeting between Kim and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea in April, according to the statement by Moon’s office.
North Korea has yet to confirm these developments, which constitute a drastic change in the policy of the isolated regime. Last month, JOL reported that Pyongyang had reportedly canceled a meeting with US Vice President Mike Pence while he was in South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
“The Vice President was ready to take this opportunity to drive home the necessity of North Korea abandoning its illicit ballistic missile and nuclear programs,” said State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert in a statement at the time. “We regret their failure to seize this opportunity.”