Korea: We Denuclearize When US Removes Its Threat


North Korean state media has credited Trump for his "willingness" to continue dialogue but has also slammed Washington for stepping up sanctions, accusing the State Department of being "bent on bringing the DPRK-U.S. relations back to the status of past year which was marked by exchanges of fire".

The U.S. special envoy for North Korea said Wednesday that Washington is reviewing easing its travel restrictions to North Korea to facilitate humanitarian shipments as part of efforts to resolve an impasse in nuclear diplomacy.

"The statement carried by North Korea's official Korea Central News Agency is a particularly blunt indication that the two countries are still far apart on their ideas of what "denuclearization" means on the Korean Peninsula". The statement suggests North Korea will eventually demand the United States withdraw or significantly reduce the 28,500 American troops stationed in South Korea, a major sticking point in any disarmament deal.

Dr Mahathir tweeted after the meeting: "We discussed on strengthening six decades of Malaysia & South Korea diplomatic ties by (the) year 2020 and the expansion of the "Look East" Policy, focusing on human capital development, as well as digital technology".

North Korea leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump shake hands following recent meetings. In Thursday's statement, the North reiterated its traditional stance on denuclearization and accused Washington of misleading what had been agreed on in Singapore.

"When we talk about the Korean Peninsula, it includes the territory of our republic and also the entire region of (South Korea) where the United States has placed its invasive force, including nuclear weapons".

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"We are the first on the list for a USA preemptive nuclear strike, and we don't have any guarantee of safety", the commentary said.

While the US removed its land-based nuclear weapons from South Korea in 1991, the nation operates nuclear-armed bombers from its base in Guam that can reach Korea, as well as submarines armed with nuclear missiles.

The standoff in denuclearization talks between Pyongyang and Washington has become prolonged, with North Korea complaining about the USA stepping up pressure against it.

And as US President Donald Trump has made clear, the spokesman said, "Sanctions relief will follow denuclearization".

The exact definition of denuclearization is likely to be raised again as Trump has said he is working to meet again with Kim sometime early next year. Washington wants these to be inspected and dismantled before it will lift sanctions on Pyongyang, but North Korea insists that sanctions must be lifted first.

State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said "the world remains united" in keeping sanctions on the North until its final and fully verified denuclearization. Confirmation of the location, size and use of each site is a key USA demand in the ongoing talks.