N.Korea state media says denuclearization includes 'eliminating USA nuclear threat'

North Korea rocket launch south korea
N. Korea: We Denuclearize When US Removes Its Threat
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21 December, 2018

"When we talk about the Korean Peninsula, it includes the territory of our republic and also the entire region of (South Korea) where the United States has placed its invasive force, including nuclear weapons".

In the months following President Trump's summit with Kim Jong Un, both leaders have pursued agendas with differing ideas about denuclearization.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who met Kim three times this year and lobbied hard for the Trump-Kim meeting, has said that the North Korean leader wasn't demanding the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the Korean peninsula as a precondition for abandoning his nuclear weapons.

This undated picture released on November 1, 2018 shows North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un inspecting a construction site in Yangdok County, South Phyongan Province.

In Thursday remarks, which are attributed to an individual named Jong Hyon, North Korea is insisting the us remove "all elements of nuclear threats from the areas of both the north and the south of Korea and also from surrounding areas from where the Korean peninsula is targeted". A State Department spokesperson told Newsweek they remain confident the commitments made by Trump and Kim at the Singapore summit will be fulfilled.

"I understand that many humanitarian aid organizations, operating in the DPRK, are concerned that strict enforcement of global sanctions has occasionally impeded the delivery of legitimate humanitarian assistance to the Korean people", Biegun said, referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

Pyongyang's heightened request comes just a day after the USA was in talks about easing a travel ban and letting American aid workers deliver humanitarian relief to North Korea, The Wall Street Journal reported.

North Korea expert Robert Kelly, Professor of Political Science, branded Mr Trump's tweets on North Korea as "just baloney".

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"The corresponding measures we have asked the United States to take aren't hard for the United States to commit to and carry out".

The larger military drills could be revisited if there is no progress in the talks, said Shin Beom-chul, a senior fellow at the Asian Institute for Policy Studies in Seoul. "It's clear that the North intends to keep its nukes and turn the diplomatic process into a bilateral arms reduction negotiation with the United States, rather than a process where it unilaterally surrenders its programme".

"They have not lived up to the commitments so far", he said at The Wall Street Journal's annual CEO Council conference in Washington.

The United States has said that it will not lift sanctions on North Korea until more progress has been made toward the verifiable denuclearization of North Korea.

The allies have suspended a number of combined military exercises this year as tensions on the Korean peninsula eased and Washington began talks to dismantle Pyongyang's nuclear program. The move took place ahead of a historic summit with the U.S. in June in Singapore.

This potential concession came as Trump's special envoy to North Korea, Stephen Biegun, landed in Seoul for meetings with South Korean officials regarding North Korea's denuclearization.

Relations improved this year between the Communist North and rich, democratic South, technically still at war because the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce, not a peace treaty. The meetings are likely to include conversations about a groundbreaking ceremony the Koreas plan to hold at the border village of Panmunjom next week for an aspirational project to reconnect their roads and railways.

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