Defense

North Korea’s Kim Hopes To Achieve Denuclearization By End Of Trump’s Term, South Korea Says

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Will Racke Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is committed to a timeline for denuclearization that would see all his country’s nuclear weapons removed by the end of President Donald Trump’s term, South Korean officials said Thursday.

Kim met a delegation from Seoul on Wednesday to lay the groundwork for a summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in later this month.

The South Korean delegation said Kim’s faith in Trump remains “unchanged” and that he is committed to denuclearization despite recent setbacks in direct talks between Washington and Pyongyang.

“He particularly emphasized that he has never said anything negative about President Trump,” Moon’s national security adviser Chung Eui-yong said, according to Reuters.

Trump, who has sought a friendly personal relationship with Kim, alluded to Chung’s remarks in a tweet thanking the North Korean leader.

“Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims ‘unwavering faith in President Trump,'” he wrote. “Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will get it done together!”

The Trump administration’s nuclear talks with North Korea have ground to a halt in recent weeks over disagreements about which side should take the first step in the process. Washington has insisted Kim reveal the extent of his nuclear program before it will consider lifting economic sanctions on the regime, but Pyongyang says it won’t do so unless the U.S. commits to security guarantees such as removing American troops from the Korean peninsula.

Another sticking point is whether to sign a peace treaty declaring the end of the Korean War, which was ended in 1953 with an armistice. Pyongyang is seeking a peace treaty with Seoul and Washington, but U.S. officials worry that a formal declaration would reduce Kim’s incentive to denuclearize.

Meanwhile, U.S. intelligence officials assess that Pyongyang has increased the production of nuclear fuel at multiple secret sites in recent months, a conclusion backed by international monitors. (RELATED: US Intelligence Suspects North Korea Is Producing Nuclear Fuel Despite Talks Of Peace And Denuclearization)

“The work of convincing Chairman Kim to make this strategic shift that we’ve talked about for a brighter future for the people of North Korea continues,” Pompeo said at a news conference in India Thursday.

“It is the case that there is still an enormous amount of work to do,” he added.

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