North Korea leader Kim says ready to denuclearise

North Korea leader Kim says ready to denuclearise

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un listens as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the one-on-one
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un listens as U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during the one-on-one bilateral meeting at the second North Korea-U.S. summit in Hanoi, Vietnam February 28, 2019. REUTERS/Leah Millis

HANOI: North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said on Thursday (Feb 27) he would not be in Vietnam meeting with US President Donald Trump if he was not prepared to pursue the denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

"If I was not, I wouldn't be here," he told a reporter who asked whether he was ready to do so.

Trump responded that the comment "might be the best answer you've ever heard".

READ: More questions than answers, but Kim Jong Un responds for first time

The two sides have differed over the definition of the term, and when Kim was asked if he was willing to take concrete steps, the North Korean leader answered: "That's what we are discussing right now."

In answers to reporters' questions during his meeting with Trump, Kim also said he would welcome the idea of putting a US liaison office in the North's capital, Pyongyang.

Liaison offices are below the level of embassies but would be a key initial step in normalising relations between the former wartime foes.

Asked if he was ready for the US to open an office in Pyongyang, Kim told reporters: "I think it is something that is worth welcoming."

READ: Trump in 'no rush' as formal nuclear talks open with Kim

Taking questions from a small group of reporters, the leaders sat across from each other, along with close aides and interpreters.

Trump said the idea of a liaison office was a "great thing".

The leaders are in Hanoi for their second summit following a historic first meeting in Singapore last June that produced little more than a vaguely worded agreement to "work toward complete nuclearisation of the Korean peninsula.

They face pressure to agree on concrete steps on what exactly that means and how it could be achieved.

But the US leader said Thursday he was in "no rush", appearing to back away from any expectations the much-anticipated meeting could produce any major breakthroughs.

The pair are expected to sign a declaration after their meetings, and Trump will hold a press conference before leaving Vietnam later Thursday.

Source: AFP/Reuters/hm

Bookmark