North Korea offers to permanently abolish its key missile facilities in the presence of foreign experts, in a new gesture by leader Kim Jong Un to revive faltering talks with Washington over his country’s nuclear program.
After a summit in Pyongyang, Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in said the North was also willing to close its main nuclear complex but only if the United States took unspecified reciprocal action.
The pledges Kim and Moon made at their third summit this year could inject fresh momentum into the stalled nuclear negotiations between Washington and Pyongyang and lay the groundwork for another meeting Kim recently proposed to U.S. President Donald Trump.
Washington is demanding concrete action towards denuclearization, such as a full disclosure of North Korea’s nuclear and missile facilities, before agreeing to key goals of Pyongyang – declaring an official end to the 1950-53 Korean War and easing tough international sanctions.
Trump welcomed the latest pledges, saying they were part of “tremendous progress” with Pyongyang on a number of fronts, and hailed the “very good news” from the Korean nations’ summit.
“He’s calm, I’m calm – so we’ll see what happens,” Trump told reporters at the White House, referring to Kim. “It’s very much calmed down.”
Kim said he would visit Seoul in the near future, in what would be the first-ever visit to South Korean capital by a North Korean leader. Moon said the visit was expected to take place by the end of the year.
The leaders also announced a series of steps to deepen bilateral exchanges in the economy, culture and sport.
Satellite images and other evidence in recent months have suggested North Korea is continuing to work on its nuclear program clandestinely.