North Korea peps-up peace, closes nuclear site in May

North Korea peps-up peace, closes nuclear site in May

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North Korea rapprochement is moving with speed as country promised to shut its atomic test site in May and invited US weapons experts to the country.

US President Donald Trump had expressed optimism about securing a nuclear deal with the secretive regime.

The reported pledge from President Kim Jong Un follows weeks of whirlwind diplomacy that saw the leaders of North and South Korea agree to pursue the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

The decision was taken during a historic summit between Kim and the South’s President Moon Jae-in on Friday.

“Kim said, during the summit with President Moon, that he would carry out the closing of the nuclear test site in May, and would soon invite experts of South Korea and the US as well as journalists to disclose the process to the international community with transparency,” Seoul’s presidential spokesman Yoon Young-chan said.

 

“Kim said ‘the US feels repulsive about us, but once we talk, they will realise that I am not a person who will fire a nuclear weapon to the South or the US or target the US,” according to Yoon.

“If we meet often (with the US), build trust, end the war and eventually are promised no invasion, why would we live with the nuclear weapons?’”

The remarks are likely to be seen as a sweetener ahead of Trump’s own planned summit with Kim, which the US leader said would take place “in the next three or four weeks”.

Trump vowed to do “the world a big favour” by achieving a nuclear deal with the regime at a campaign-style rally in Michigan to cheers and chants of “Nobel! Nobel!”.

Trump has been eager to play up his role in achieving a breakthrough with Pyongyang through what the White House has called a “Maximum Pressure Campaign” consisting of tough rhetoric, strengthened global sanctions and diplomatic efforts to further isolate the authoritarian regime.

“If we would have said where we are today from three or four months — months ago, do you remember what they were saying? ‘He’s going to get us into nuclear war, they said,’” Trump told supporters in Washington Township, north of Detroit.

He added: “No, strength is going to keep us out of nuclear war, not going to get us in!”

But he also sounded a note of caution, saying he was prepared to walk away if US demands for North Korea to relinquish its atomic arsenal were not met.

His remarks came as extracts from an interview with his new Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were released.

*AFP

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