SEOUL/GENEVA (Reuters) – North Korea has expressed its commitment to “complete denuclearisation” of the Korean peninsula and is not seeking conditions, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday, as the United States vowed to maintain “maximum pressure” on Pyongyang.
Moon said big-picture agreements about denuclearisation, establishing a peace regime and normalisation of relations between the two Koreas and the United States should not be difficult to reach through summits between the North and South, and between the North and the United States.
“I don’t think denuclearisation has different meanings for South and North Korea. The North is expressing a will for a complete denuclearisation,” Moon said during a lunch with chief executives of Korean media companies.
“They have not attached any conditions that the US cannot accept, such as the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea. All they are talking about is the end of hostile policies against North Korea, followed by a guarantee of security.”
North Korea has defended its nuclear and missile programmes, which it pursues in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions, as a necessary deterrent against perceived US hostility. The United States stations 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War.
North Korea has said over the years that it could consider giving up its nuclear arsenal if the United States removed its troops from South Korea and withdrew its so-called nuclear umbrella of deterrence from South Korea and Japan.
South Korea announced on Wednesday that it is considering how to change a decades-old armistice with North Korea into a peace agreement as it prepares for the North-South summit this month.