'As a planned summit between Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un approaches, Pyongyang has indicated it would abandon its nuclear programme without requiring American troops to leave the Korean Peninsula.
“The North is expressing a will for a complete denuclearisation”, South Korean president Moon Jae-in said to reporters. “They have not attached any conditions that the U.S. cannot accept, such as the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea. All they are talking about is the end of hostile policies against North Korea, followed by a guarantee of security”.
Achieving a deal on those terms would represent a resounding success for Mr Trump, who months earlier had threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea during a United Nations speech to world leaders.
North Korea has long decried the presence of US troops, and their regular joint drills with South Korean forces, as provocations that could presage an invasion and necessitate Pyongyang’s military buildup.
But any demands for an exit of US troops would likely be a nonstarter for America. Despite nascent diplomatic efforts, the Trump administration has stuck by a campaign of “maximum pressure” and harsh sanctions on the North Korean regime.
The commitment to denuclearise while allowing US forces to remain, conveyed via a South Korean leader who has prioritised better relations with the North, continued diplomatic manoeuvring ahead of high-stakes talks. Earlier this month CIA director Mike Pompeo met with Mr Kim in Pyongyang, and Mr Trump said efforts are on pace to convene talks by June.'
Read more: North Korea offers to denuclearise without demanding withdrawal of US troops from peninsula
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