North Korea has dropped its long-held demand that the United States withdraw forces from South Korea in exchange for denuclearization, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said Thursday.
“North Korea has expressed willingness to give up its nuclear program without making (a) demand that the (US Forces Korea) forces withdraw from the Korean Peninsula,” Moon said in a meeting with the press, adding that any proposed troop withdrawal would be a “condition that the US cannot accept.”
The concession comes as President Donald Trump insisted Wednesday he’d be willing to leave a highly anticipated summit meeting with Kim Jong-un should it fall short of his expectations.
In a similar vein, Kim signaled in March that he would not oppose joint US-South Korean military exercises. The annual war games have been a sore point for the North Korean leader, who sees them as a direct provocation to his country’s security. US military leaders have refused to put the drills on the table as a negotiating chip.
The South Korean leader, President Moon Jae-in, is due to meet Kim Jong-un next week for a historic summit in the Demilitarized Zone.