North Korea Will Move Toward Denuclearization If US Reciprocates

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  • North Korean and South Korean leaders made some solid plans on their second day of meetings.
  • Kim Jong Un proposed a few more steps toward denuclearization, but only if the U.S. reciprocates. 
  • Experts are divided on how seriously the U.S. should take Kim’s promises.

On the second day of meetings between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Tokyo, Japan, Kim proposed a few step towards concrete denuclearization, but only if the United States reciprocates as well.

A few of the plans Kim made involved furthering peace talks with South Korea, including visiting the country’s capital of Seoul, which would be a first for him, The New York Times reported.

Kim also pledged to end military exercises and create no-fly zones at the border between the two countries in an effort to calm the nerves that have grown after reports that Kim was actually increasing his nuclear capacity after pledging to denuclearize in his June meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump.

In relation to such denuclearization, however, Kim made a notable promise to dismantle a missile engine-test facility while also inviting “external inspectors” to watch over the dismantling to ensure it is disabled.

“We have agreed to make the Korean Peninsula a land of peace that is free from nuclear weapons and nuclear threat,” Kim said, according to The Washington Post, while adding, “The road to our future will not always be smooth, and we may face challenges and trials we can’t anticipate.”

Kim is referring to the Yongbyon nuclear complex, which is central to his country’s nuclear program.

In return, Kim has asked the U.S. to formally declare an end to the 1950-1953 Korean War, which was halted with an armistice.

Kim said he will move forward with such measures only if the U.S. takes “corresponding steps” based on pledges Trump made in their June summit. (RELATED: Trump Cheers On Kim Jong Un After North Korea Downplays Nukes During Parade)

Experts are divided on the outcome of the meeting between Korean leaders, with some saying any steps in the right direction are welcomed, while others are saying it’s not enough.

“No matter how hard I look, I can find no real progress in denuclearization in today’s announcements,” an analyst at the Asan Institute for Policy Studies, Cheon Seong-whun, told the NYT.

Trump, on the other hand, welcomed the news on Twitter.

“These moves are expected to help resolve the international community’s doubts toward North Korea’s preemptive dismantling moves in the past as a mere show,” director of South Korea’s National Security Office, Chung Eui-yong, said according WaPo.

Even though Kim seemingly made moves to dismantle sites and simmer his nuclear capacity, one expert, Melissa Hanham from the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, reminded the U.S. that Kim has more than one nuclear facility and Kim’s concessions do not translate to ending all missile programs.

On top of nuclear talks, Moon and Kim announced plans to make a bid to jointly hold the Summer Olympic Games in 2032.

In another move appearing to show solidarity, the two announced a ceremony to open railroads and roads connecting the countries, WaPo reported.

The White House said on Sept. 10 that the U.S. and North Korea are in talks about a second meeting to further stalled denuclearization talks.

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