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North Korea wants ‘complete denuclearization,’ not US troop withdrawal, South’s leader says

South Korean President Moon Jae-in (Flickr)

North Korea said it wants “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula and is not attaching such preconditions as the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea ahead of next week’s summit between the two nations, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday.

Moon and the North’s leader Kim Jong Un are scheduled to meet April 27 in a rare summit aimed at improving ties and easing tensions. Kim will meet later with President Trump to discuss denuclearizing the peninsula. That meeting, expected in May or June, will be the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader.

“North Korea is expressing a will for a complete denuclearization,” Moon told reporters.

“They have not attached any conditions that the U.S. 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,” Moon added.

North Korea did not confirm Moon’s statement. If true, it would remove a major sticking point to denuclearization.

Moon and Kim will hold talks in the border village of Panmunjom. It will be the third summit between the two Koreas — the previous gatherings took place in the North’s capital, Pyongyang, in 2000 and 2007.

There are 28,500 U.S. troops in South Korea, a move that followed 1950-53 Korean War that ended with an armistice and not a peace treaty.

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© 2018 USA Today

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