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N. Korea Willing to Hold Denuclearization Talks

N. Korea Willing to Hold Denuclearization Talks”

"This public display of contempt for universal norms against chemical weapons use further demonstrates the reckless nature of North Korea and underscores that we can not afford to tolerate a North Korean WMD program of any kind", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement. The South Korean government announced Tuesday that it has agreed with North Korea to hold summit talks in late April. "And I think they're honest also because of the sanctions and what we're doing with respect to North Korea, including the great help that we've been given from China", Trump said at a news conference after meeting with Prime Minister Stefan Lofven of Sweden.

"It's much harder to get the North Koreans to undo something they have done in terms of missile development and nuclear development", said Daniel Russel, a former US assistant secretary of state for East Asia and the Pacific.

"We have come certainly a long way, at least rhetorically, with North Korea", Trump said.

"Possible progress being made in talks with North Korea". But he added, "We're going to see".

"The North clearly expressed its willingness for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and clarified that there is no reason for them to retain nuclear weapons if military threats against North Korea are removed and if the safety of its regime is guaranteed". That suggests the possibility Kim will insist in any deal that the US withdraw its almost 28,000 troops from South Korea.

The White House issued a brief statement from Vice President Mike Pence suggesting nothing has changed in that area.

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"This is the sort of rhetoric that one encounters at the bare beginnings of a process that can last years, and of course the only processes that have been run with North Korea on the nuclear issue have come a cropper", said a former US official involved in talks with North Korea who spoke on condition of anonymity, using an idiom meaning failed. Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, called it a "big change" and implied the improvements should be taken into account in considering the prospect of war on the Korean peninsula.

North Korea is also willing to discuss normalising ties with the United States, Chung said.

"(China) can do more but I think they've done more than they've ever done for our country before", he said.

Under the 1994 "Agreed Framework" negotiated under Democratic former U.S. President Bill Clinton, North Korea committed to freeze and dismantle its nuclear facilities in return for two lightwater reactors and fuel oil while the nuclear power plants were built.

North Korea has not carried out any weapons tests since late November, when it tested its largest intercontinental ballistic missile.

Chung led a 10-member South Korean delegation on a two-day visit to North Korea. They resulted in a series of cooperative projects that were scuttled during subsequent conservative administrations in South Korea.

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