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U.S. wants N.K. to ship part of nuclear, missile stockpiles out of country within months: sources

All Headlines 10:14 May 13, 2018

SEOUL, May 13 (Yonhap) -- The United States has demanded that North Korea ship some of its nuclear weapons, fissile material and long-range missiles out of the country within months after next month's summit between the two countries, sources said Sunday.

The U.S. made the demand during talks with the North to fine-tune the agenda of the summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un set for June 12 summit in Singapore, saying sanctions won't be relaxed unless the demand is met, the sources said.

The North's response to the demand is not known, they said.

The demand suggests that the U.S. believes the North's pledge to suspend nuclear and missile testing is not enough and the communist nation should do more to demonstrate its commitment to abandon its nuclear and missile programs.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited Pyongyang last week to discuss summit preparations with the North's leader and to bring home three American detainees. The North's state media said later that the two sides reached "a satisfactory consensus on the issues discussed."

That suggests the North's response to the U.S. demand was not negative.

In Washington on Friday, Pompeo said after his first talks with South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha, the U.S. is ready to boost North Korea's economy if the regime swiftly dismantles its nuclear weapons program.

"If North Korea takes bold action to quickly denuclearize, the United States is prepared to work with North Korea to achieve prosperity on par with our South Korean friends," Pompeo said during a joint news conference with Kang.

Observers said that the North is unlikely to hand over all of its nuclear weapons and fissile material unless it determines its security has been guaranteed through the establishment of diplomatic relations and conclusion of a peace treaty with the U.S.

Still, however, Pyongyang could use the possibility of giving up some of its nuclear stockpile as a negotiating card, they said.

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