North Korea has promised to halt development of intercontinental ballistic missiles, but said the pledge was dependent on “U.S. attitude,” South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported Thursday.
During their meeting with Kim Jong Un this week, South Korean President Moon Jae-in’s special envoys persuaded the North Korean leader to suspend and gradually discard its missile program, as well as release three U.S. citizens detained in the country, the paper said, citing multiple South Korean government sources.
Chosun, without citing anyone, said that conditions for pausing North Korea’s ICBM program include the establishment of U.S. diplomatic relations and suspension of Washington’s deployment of strategic military assets in South Korea.
Pyongyang has not yet confirmed a South Korean special envoy’s account that Kim is willing to give up its nuclear weapons if the safety of his regime is guaranteed.
Moon on Wednesday tried to tamp down expectations for his planned summit with Kim Jong Un next month, even as U.S. President Donald Trump said he’s open to talks. Moon’s envoys are traveling to Washington on Thursday morning to brief the Trump administration on their talks in Pyongyang.
The U.S. and North Korea have been at loggerheads since the Korean War ended without a peace treaty almost 65 years ago, and Kim’s government has repeatedly said nuclear weapons were necessary to deter any U.S.-led military action. Over the years, Kim’s father and grandfather have raised the prospect of abandoning its nuclear-weapons program if the U.S. gave up its hostile policies.
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