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‘Trump is ready to end this war,’ Biegun says

Posted February. 02, 2019 07:31,   

Updated February. 02, 2019 07:31

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Stephen Biegun, the U.S. Special Representative for North Korea, has revealed Washington’s willingness to declare an end to the Korean War, urging North Korea to report its weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and missiles. This signals that the second North Korea-U.S. summit may yield an end-of-war declaration and measures to establish a peace regime if Pyongyang takes bold steps to get rid of its nuclear arsenal.

“President Trump is ready to end this war,” Biegun said in a speech at the Asia-Pacific Research Center (APARC) of Stanford University on Thursday (local time). “We are not seeking to topple the North Korean regime.”

Biegun stressed that during Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s October meetings in Pyongyang, Chairman Kim Jong Un committed to the dismantlement and destruction of North Korea’s plutonium and uranium enrichment facilities. “Finally and importantly, in describing to us their commitment to dismantle and destroy their plutonium and uranium enrichment facilities, the North Koreans have also added the critical words ‘and more,’” he said. “Before the process of denuclearization can be final, we must also have a complete understanding of the full extent of the North Korean weapons of mass destruction missile programs.”

“We need to have contingencies if the diplomatic process fails, which we do,” he said, calling for Pyongyang to take necessary steps toward denuclearization. Still, he also said, “Chairman Kim qualified next steps on North Korea’s plutonium and uranium enrichment facilities upon the United States taking corresponding measures. Exactly what these measures are is a matter I plan to discuss with my North Korean counterpart.”

Meanwhile, the State Department has announced that Biegun will visit Seoul Sunday to hold talks with his South Korean counterpart Lee Do-hoon ahead of the additional working-level talks with North Korea. A source in Washington said that the U.S.-North Korea working-level discussion may be held at the truce village of Panmunjom or even in Pyongyang. President Trump had earlier said he would announce the location of the second summit next week.


jkim@donga.com