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North Korea to Drop the Withdrawal of U.S. Forces from South Korea as a Condition of Denuclearization Deal

North Korea to Drop the Withdrawal of U.S. Forces from South Korea as a Condition of Denuclearization Deal

U.S. ally, South Korea has said that North Korea has not asked for the U.S. to withdraw troops from the Korean Peninsula in order to strike a nuclear disarmament deal.

The U.S military presence has been a sticking point for North Korea in the past.

“For decades, the reclusive country, an ally of China, has persistently demanded the withdrawal of 28,500 American troops in South Korea, citing their presence as a pretext to justify its development of nuclear weapons. The demand has always been a nonstarter for South Korean and American negotiators,” writes The New York Times. 

“North Korea has expressed willingness to give up its nuclear program without making (a) demand that the (US Forces Korea) forces withdraw from the Korean Peninsula,” said South Korean President Moon Jae-in. 

North Korea is now willing to take this condition off the table in exchange for “security guarantees.”

“Moon said Thursday, however, that North Korea still wants the United States to end its “hostile” policy toward the North and offer security guarantees. It has typically linked U.S. “hostility” to the 28,500 U.S. troops stationed in South Korea,” writes Fox News. “North Korea has always said it needed to develop nuclear weapons because of the U.S. “hostility” embodied by the American troops in South Korea, 50,000 others stationed in Japan and the “nuclear umbrella” security guarantee that Washington offers allies Seoul and Tokyo.”

“They only talk about ending the hostile policy against North Korea, and then guarantee of their security. With that clarification, the US and North Korea have agreed to sit down at the summit,” said Moon.

Moon will be meeting with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next week and then President Donald Trump is expected to meet with Kim in the last week of May or early June..

However, Trump made it clear he isn’t afraid to cut the meeting short depending on North Korea’s approach.

“If I think it’s a meeting that is not going to be fruitful, we’re not going to go,” said Trump at a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. “If the meeting, when I’m there, is not fruitful, I will respectfully leave the meeting.”

But Trump is still optimistic about his upcoming meeting. 

“We have come a long way with North Korea. “We’ve never been in a position like this with that regime,” said Trump. “I think we”re going to be successful.But, if for any reason I feel we’re not, we end.”

Trump has said that North Korea needs to halt its nuclear-weapon program in a “complete and verifiable and irreversible way.”

In early April, Trump sent the C.I.A. director, Mike Pompeo to Pyongyang to meet with Kim where  “a good relationship was formed.”

“Our campaign of maximum pressure will continue until North Korea denuclearizes. We have to end nuclear weapons ideally in all parts of the world,” said Trump.

During the summit with Abe, Trump thanked him for Japan’s efforts to denuclearization North Korea.

“Our campaign of maximum pressure will continue until North Korea denuclearizes. We have to end nuclear weapons ideally in all parts of the world,” said Trump.

Trump is also negotiating with North Korea about the release of three U.S. citizens being held there.

“They do have three prisoners,” said Trump. “We have been talking about them. It’s harsh treatment. We’re having a very good dialogue. I think there’s a good chance.”

Author’s note: This is definitely a step in the right direction, it means North Korea is serious about striking a deal. This also would be a big win for Trump and it’s great timing considering the upcoming mid-term elections.

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