North Korea is said to have presented its conditions for denuclearization during a recent working-level meeting with the U.S.
According to South Korean newspaper The Hankyoreh, Pyongyang’s proposal seeks to “resolve the military threat and guarantee the security of the regime” as both countries prepare for a summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
Sources with knowledge of the meeting told the paper that North Korean diplomats brought up roughly five issues.
“North Korea asked the US to remove its nuclear and strategic assets from South Korea, stop the deployment of nuclear and strategic assets during joint military exercises with the South, guarantee that it will not make a conventional or nuclear attack, convert the armistice agreement into a peace treaty and normalize diplomatic relations.”
The sources also stated that Pyongyang’s offer does not require at any point the withdrawal of U.S. forces from the Korean Peninsula so long as the regime’s safety is guaranteed.
While the U.S. has reportedly expressed interested in a peace treaty and normalizing relations, it is pushing to shorten the denuclearization timetable to keep the Kim regime from stalling as in previous talks.
Following the summit, which Trump said is likely to take place in late May or June, the U.S. will reportedly give North Korea six months to a year to comply.
“It’s basically about a year from now,” one source told the paper. “But once the negotiations get underway, there’s a possibility of this being extended for two years or so because of technical issues.”
Whether or not the Trump administration will agree to the conditions, or any at all, remains yet to be seen. Questions also remain given the historical difference in the definition of “denuclearization” from D.C. and Pyongyang.
During his confirmation hearing for secretary of state Thursday, CIA Director Mike Pompeo said North Korea should not expect any rewards until total denuclearization has been verified, a position some analysts say could end the summit before it begins.
Speaking with reporters Thursday, an optimistic Trump said he believed the upcoming face-to-face would be “terrific.”
“Meetings are being set up right now between myself and Kim Jong Un. I think it will be terrific. I think we’ll go in with a lot of respect and we’ll see what happens,” Trump said.