North Korea reluctant to ship our all nuclear warheads before summit
Amidst preparations for a summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un on June 12 in Singapore, there are indications that South Korean President Moon Jae-in could also make a trip to Singapore for a possible three-way summit around the same time.
South Korean official news agency Yonhap, quoting an unnamed presidential official, said a three-way meeting depends on the outcome of the ongoing discussions between Washington and Pyongyang.
The agency quoted the official saying, “The discussions are just getting started, so we are still waiting to see how they come out, but depending on their outcome, the president could join President Trump and Chairman Kim in Singapore.”
There were reports that Moon and Kim had first proposed a three-way summit during their first-ever meeting at the border village of Panmunjom on April 27.
Meanwhile an American delegation met with North Korean officials at the demilitarized zone between North and South on Monday. Both the State Department and South Korea’s foreign ministry said officials were in discussions at the Korean village of Panmunjom.
Earlier on Thursday, Donald Trump rattled the region by withdrawing from the proposed June 12 Summit. But within 24 hours he reversed course, saying it could still go ahead after productive talks were held with North Korean officials.
Our United States team has arrived in North Korea to make arrangements for the Summit between Kim Jong Un and myself. I truly believe North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic and financial Nation one day. Kim Jong Un agrees with me on this. It will happen!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 27, 2018
A statement from North Korea’s state news agency KCNA on Sunday also said Kim expressed “his fixed will” on the possibility of meeting Trump as previously planned.
Read More: Trump-Kim Summit not happening on June 12
While maintaining that Kim is committed to denuclearization, South Korean President Moon Jae-in acknowledged Pyongyang and Washington may have differing expectations of what that means, and he urged both sides to hold working-level talks to resolve their differences.
The leaders of North and South Korea suddenly met late on Saturday evening for the second time within a month.
Moon said, “Even though they share the same resolve, there need to be discussions regarding the roadmap for how to make it happen, and that process could be tough,” declining to define “complete denuclearization”.
On Sunday, Japan’s Kyodo news agency, citing unnamed US officials, reported that US has asked North Korea to move all of its nuclear warheads out of the Korean Peninsula before the June 12 summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The officials say that Pyongyang has been reluctant to ship out its estimated 20 warheads along with its intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) out of the country. However, Kyodo claimed that Kim had offered to ship out some of the missiles that are capable of hitting US mainland.
US officials have also discussed possible plans to scrap weapons-grade plutonium, highly enriched uranium and other weapons related material that North Korea might have.
North Korea has, on Thursday, dismantled the Punggye-ri, its sole known nuclear test site in an array of explosions. This has been the staging ground for all six of the its nuclear tests, including its latest far most powerful one in September last year.