NORTH KOREAN leader Kim Jong Un on Thursday assured his country’s commitment to denuclearisation, setting a timeline to do away with the weapons before the end of US President Donald Trump’s first term in office.
Officials in South Korea said Kim has also agreed to hold a summit with his South Korean counterpart President Moon Jae-in in Pyongyang on Sept 18-20. The pair will discuss “practical measures” toward denuclearisation, Reuters reported.
Moon’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, said Kim told South Korean officials his faith in Trump was “unchanged” and that he hoped the North’s denuclearisation would put an end to hostile relations with the US before Trump’s first term ends in early 2021.
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“He particularly emphasised that he has never said anything negative about President Trump,” Chung said.
Kim’s assurance marks the first time North Korea has provided a timeline for dismantling its nuclear and intercontinental ballistic missile programme since his historic meeting with Trump in June.
Since the summit, State Secretary Mike Pompeo has flown to Pyongyang to iron out details of the agreement but North Korean officials accused him of “gangster-like” behaviour.
While talks in Pyongyang were underway, Pompeo also pushed for countries to continue imposing sanctions against North Korea.
US intelligence agencies and the United Nations have collected evidence suggesting that North Korea was still pursuing its nuclear programmes despite the deal.
Before completely getting rid of its nuclear weapons stockpile and testing grounds, the North had demanded the removal of United State military personnel from South Korea and the withdrawal of a so-called nuclear umbrella protecting South Korea and Japan.
Kim also insisted on the need for the United States to reciprocate North Korea’s initial moves, which have included dismantling a nuclear test site and a missile engine facility, Chung said.