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North Korea Willing to Talk About Nuclear Weapons
09 March 2018, 03:01 | Bernice Figueroa
North Korea Willing to Talk About Nuclear Weapons
South Korean President Moon Jae-in sounded a note of caution on Wednesday over the North's offer of denuclearisation talks, saying it was "too early to be optimistic", even as U.S. leader Donald Trump welcomed the development.
South Korean officials met North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday in the first such encounter of its kind and said he had expressed his willingness to denuclearise if his country's security is assured.
South Korean National Security Office Head Chung Eui-yong revealed few details of the trip as he boarded a plane at Seoul's Incheon Airport for a brief two-day visit to Washington.
"I think that they are honest but I think they're honest also because the sanctions and what we're doing with respect to North Korea, including the great help that we've been given from China, and they can do more, but I think they've done more than certainly they've ever done for our country before, so China has been a big help", the US President said.
Experts say that North Korea could be willing to bring a halt to its development of intercontinental ballistic missiles or free three US citizens detained in the country.
This comes after North Korea reportedly told South Korea they were willing to abandon their nuclear program. He had been living in exile after falling out of favor with his father, former North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, for making comments that were critical of the North Korean regime.
South Korean officials said they asked the United States to postpone the drills to reduce tensions with Pyongyang, while U.S. officials said it was only moved to avoid a strain on logistics during the Games.
The South Korean delegation also said they would convey an "additional" undisclosed message from the North Korean regime to Washington.
North Korea has boasted of its plans to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the mainland United States.
There is an increasingly uncomfortable tension between the strategic objectives of the United States and those of South Korea.
Ko appeared in North Korean state media last month, condemning a defector couple in the South and reiterating his links to the National Intelligence Service (NIS).
US officials said Trump would be prepared to quickly pull the plug on diplomacy if it becomes obvious that Pyongyang is just trying to drag out talks.
It remains unclear, too, whether Seoul will use recent inter-Korean rapprochement - and an upcoming third summit between the leaders of the two Koreas - to again raise the issue with Pyongyang.
"But the sanctions have been very very strong", Trump continued.
He added that the pressure on the North could be reduced only by "substantive progress" on denuclearization. They were supposed to begin in late February or early March but were postponed until after the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and Paralympics to encourage North Korea's participation in the Games.
Both Yun and Cha were advocates of engagement with North Korea and were viewed with suspicion by the White House, where senior officials have argued for a military solution to the challenge posed by Pyongyang's nuclear and missile programme. If he is right, if his real goal was to get North Koreans to the bargaining table, now he has succeeded and it is time to scale back that rhetoric and give diplomacy a chance.
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