North Korea has expressed a desire for the “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula without attaching preconditions such as the withdrawal of US troops, the South Korean president has said. The statement, unconfirmed by North Korea, comes before a summit between the leaders of the two countries on 27 April, to be followed in May or June by a meeting between Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader, and Donald Trump.
The South Korean president, Moon Jae-in, told reporters that North Korea had not “attached any conditions that the US cannot accept, such as the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea. All they are expressing is the end of hostile policies against North Korea, followed by a guarantee of security.” There has never been a summit between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader, though Bill Clinton came close to agreeing to meet Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, in late 2000.
North Korea has defended its weapons programmes, which it pursues in defiance of UN security council resolutions, as a necessary deterrent against perceived US hostility. There are 28,500 US troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war.
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