North Korea willing to hold denuclearization talks with U.S., South says
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has agreed to hold a landmark summit meeting with South Korea’s president next month and impose a moratorium on nuclear and missile tests if his country holds talks with the United States, a senior South Korean official said Tuesday.
Chung Eui-yong, South Korea’s presidential national security director, said the two Koreas agreed to hold their third-ever summit at a tense border village in late April. He also said the leaders will establish a “hotline” communication channel to lower military tensions, and would speak together before the planned summit.
Chung led a 10-member South Korean delegation that met with Kim during a two-day visit to Pyongyang, North Korea’s capital. They returned on Tuesday.
The agreements follow a flurry of cooperative steps taken by the Koreas during last month’s Pyeongchang Olympics in South Korea. Tensions had run high during the previous year because of a barrage of North Korean weapons tests.
The two past summits, in 2000 and 2007, were held between Kim’s late father, Kim Jong Il, and two liberal South Korean presidents. They resulted in a series of cooperative projects between the Koreas that were scuttled during subsequent conservative administrations in South Korea.
Chung said North Korea agreed to suspend nuclear and missile tests for as long as it holds talks with the United States.
North Korea also made it clear that it would not need to keep its nuclear weapons if military threats against it are removed and it receives a credible security guarantee, Chung said.
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