REPORT: North Korea Willing To Denuclearize

The New York Times reports:

North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-un, has told South Korean envoys that his country is willing to begin negotiations with the United States on abandoning its nuclear weapons and that it would suspend all nuclear and missile tests while it is engaged in such talks, South Korean officials said on Tuesday.

During the envoys’ two-day visit to Pyongyang, the North’s capital, which ended on Tuesday, the two Koreas also agreed to hold a summit meeting between Mr. Kim and President Moon Jae-in of South Korea on the countries’ border in late April, Mr. Moon’s office said in a statement.

“The North Korean side clearly stated its willingness to denuclearize,” the statement said. “It made it clear that it would have no reason to keep nuclear weapons if the military threat to the North was eliminated and its security guaranteed.”

More from Bloomberg News:

Analysts cautioned that North Korea has a history of using negotiations to buy time for its weapons program. The Kim dynasty has over the years raised the prospect of abandoning its nuclear-weapons program if the U.S. gave up its hostile policies, though serious negotiations haven’t taken place since six-party talks also including China, Japan and Russia broke down in 2009.

“It’s progress — certainly more than most would have expected — but it’s still rhetorical,” said Robert Kelly, a political science associate professor at South Korea’s Pusan National University. While it’s unclear if Trump will agree to return to negotiations, he said, “the pressure will be on to talk.”

And from the Daily Beast:

When President Donald Trump said North Korea “called up a couple of days ago” saying they were interested in talking with the United States, the president was actually referring to a phone call with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a White House official told [news agency] Yonhap. “President Trump did not have a call with the North Koreans,” the official said.