North Korea has pledged to destroy all its nuclear material enrichment facilities, according to the US special envoy for the country, Stephen Biegun. He said the promise had been made to US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo when he visited North Korea in October. Biegun added that Kim Jong-un had committed, in his talks with Mr Pompeo, to “the dismantlement and destruction” of all its plutonium and uranium facilities, which provide the material for nuclear weapons.
Pyongyang has not confirmed making any such pledge.
Mr Biegun also said that North Korea must provide a complete list of its nuclear assets before any deal can be reached.
President Donald Trump had earlier claimed “tremendous progress” in talks between the countries. Speaking in the Oval Office on Thursday, the president said he would soon announce the date and location of a planned second summit with North Korea’s Kim Jong-un.
Stephen Biegun has been Washington’s top envoy to North Korea for five months but he gave a detailed public accounting of his approach for the first time in a speech at Stanford University in California.
Mr Biegun said President Trump was “ready to end this war”.
“We’re not going to invade North Korea. We are not seeking to topple the regime,” he said.
But Biegun reiterated that the US would not lift sanctions until denuclearisation was complete, demanding “a complete understanding of the full extent of the North Korean WMD [weapons of mass destruction] and missile programmes through a comprehensive declaration”.
He also admitted that North Korea and the US did not have a shared definition of what denuclearisation actually meant.