International Desk: North Korea is willing to talk to the United States about giving up its nuclear weapons, South Korea said Tuesday, in a remarkable development that followed unprecedented meetings in Pyongyang.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has also agreed to refrain from conducting nuclear and missile tests while engaging in dialogue with South Korea, Seoul’s national security chief Chung Eui-yong said after returning from talks with Kim.
Chung said Pyongyang expressed willingness to talk to the United States “in an open-ended dialogue to discuss the issue of denuclearization and to normalize relations with North Korea.”
North Korea clarified that it had no reason to retain nuclear weapons if “the military threat to North Korea is resolved” and the country’s security can be guaranteed, Chung said.
It’s a startling statement from a nation that only months ago declared it could wipe the United States off the face of the Earth.
“This is Kim Jong Un stepping on the peace offensive gas pedal,” Duyeon Kim, a senior research fellow at the Korean Peninsula Future Forum in Seoul, said.
The Trump administration has said it’s willing to negotiate with North Korea if it puts denuclearization on the table.
“The fixed policy of the United States of America is that we are going to continue with all options on the table to bring intensifying economic and diplomatic pressure to bear until North Korea, once and for all, completely and verifiably abandons its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile program,” US Vice President Mike Pence said last month after visiting South Korea.