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Experts attach meaning to N.K. leader's denuclearization schedule

All Headlines 16:50 September 06, 2018

SEOUL, Sept. 6 (Yonhap) -- North Korea experts in Seoul said Thursday that the meeting between South Korea's presidential envoy and the North's leader Kim Jong-un may serve as a positive factor in narrowing the differences between Pyongyang and Washington over denuclearization and a peace regime.

They share the view that there has been some progress, though Kim didn't mention specific measures toward denuclearization.

"The most meaningful thing is that Kim revealed a denuclearization schedule by saying it can be completed during the term of President Trump," Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of Dongguk University, said.

"North Korea also needs a cause to persuade its domestic people to denuclearize. In other words, the North may not move any step forward without a cause like a declaration of an end of the war. It seems that the North wants the South Korean government well aware of its intentions to persuade the U.S. in order to advance the overall process," Koh said.

According to presidential envoy Chung Eui-yong, Kim said he wants to complete his country's denuclearization before Trump's first term ends in January 2021 to improve the relationship with the U.S.

Experts attach meaning to N.K. leader's denuclearization schedule - 1

Kim Joon-hyung, a professor of Handong University, said Kim's statement that a declaration of an end to the Korean War has nothing to do with the withdrawal of U.S. troops from South Korea has important implications.

Kim Dong-yeop, a research professor at Kyungnam University's Institute for Far Eastern Studies, said Pyongyang appears to have accepted an arbitration plan proposed by Seoul.

"The presidential envoy didn't reveal the details of his visit to Pyongyang, because the ball is in the court of Kim and Trump," the professor said.

"They may try to find a middle ground between the U.S. demand for North Korea's nuclear program declaration and the North's demand for an end-of-war declaration," he explained.

Kim Yong-hyun, a professor at Dongguk University, said that Kim expressed expectations for a Pyongyang visit by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo by saying he is willing to closely cooperate with the U.S.

"It is important for the leaders of the North and the U.S. to make another big decision that will serve as an engine," the professor said.


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