N Korea to allow worldwide disarmament verification

Cheryl Sanders
September 19, 2018

North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un offered on Wednesday to permanently dismantle the country's main nuclear site, but only if the United States makes concessions first.

Kim's remarks about traveling to Seoul were made during a news conference in Pyongyang with the South Korean president.

North Korea is willing to move towards dismantling its main Yongbyon nuclear site if the U.S. takes reciprocal actions, the statement said, without providing further details.

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Moon meanwhile told reporters that the neighbors finally managed to agree to "specific denuclearization steps".

The bid was agreed by South Korea's President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at a meeting in Pyongyang.

The South Korean leader said there would be challenges ahead but that he and Kim had "trust and friendship".

It comes after the two leaders held summit talks in Pyongyang to try to sustain nuclear diplomacy with Washington, which has been pushing hard for stronger disarmament moves from the North.

South Korean analysts warned that much was at stake in Moon's efforts to mediate a breakthrough in the stalled dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang.

While announcing the outcome of his summit with Kim, Moon said that the two Koreas had agreed to remove "all threats across the peninsula" that could trigger war.

It's been more than three months since Kim met US President Donald Trump in Singapore, and negotiations between the two sides appear to have hit an impasse.

Moon insisted the North's agreement also marked the first time for the Koreas to discuss detailed steps to denuclearization.

He also visited the White House earlier this year as the USA and North Korea prepared for June's historic summit.

"On the denuclearisation issue, the agreement fell short of expectations", Korea University political science professor Yoo Ho-yeol told AFP.

Moon, meanwhile, achieved an important objective by securing concessions from Kim related to limiting his country's nuclear and ballistic missile programs. Moon said the visit was expected to take place by the end of the year.

This week's summit, the third between Mr Kim and Mr Moon this year, is meant to craft concrete steps to implement the Panmunjom Declaration, named after the border village where they first met, Seoul officials said.

The agreement signed by the leaders of the two Koreas in Pyongyang also called for steps to further improve inter-Korean ties.

The two leaders agreed to hold a ground-breaking ceremony this year connecting railways and roads running along their eastern and western coasts.

Both countries made a decision to open a permanent meeting place for families long separated by the border in the near future, Moon said.

The Kaesong complex was shut down in early 2016 as part of Seoul's unilateral sanctions against the North. The North has long seen the U.S. military's large footprint in South Korea as a direct threat.

Seoul and Pyongyang have agreed to "cease various military exercises aimed at each other along the Military Demarcation Line (MDL)" after November 1.

In it, defense chiefs from Pyongyang and Seoul said they would establish "buffer zones" between their land and maritime borders to reduce the possibility of accidental military clashes.

The two countries will cooperate in major sporting events including the 2020 Olympics Games as well, a joint statement between the countries said.

They will also seek to jointly host the 2032 Summer Olympic Games.

Earlier in the day, Kim greeted Moon at the Pyongyang airport with a spectacle.

Other reports by iNewsToday