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North Korea Is Willing to Discuss Giving Up Nuclear Weapons, South Says

The statement said the two Koreas would begin working-level discussions to prepare for the summit meeting, to be held in the Freedom House, a South Korean building in Panmunjom, the so-called truce village that straddles the border. Before Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon meet, the countries will install, for the first time, a hotline to reach each other directly, the statement said.

The statement gave no indication that North Korea would start dismantling nuclear or missile programs anytime soon. Nonetheless, the reported agreements are a major milestone in Mr. Moon’s efforts to improve relations with North Korea. Those efforts advanced considerably during the recent Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea, to which Mr. Kim sent athletes, entertainers and a political delegation that included his sister, who invited Mr. Moon to the North for talks.

The top South Korean envoys who returned from North Korea on Tuesday — Mr. Moon’s national security adviser, Chung Eui-yong, and the director of the South’s National Intelligence Service, Suh Hoon — are expected to be dispatched to Washington this week to brief the Trump administration on their discussions with Mr. Kim.

Mr. Moon hopes that a freeze on nuclear and missile tests by North Korea will be enough of a trust-building step to prompt Mr. Trump to agree to open dialogue with North Korea. Mr. Trump has said that the United States could talk with North Korea, but “only under the right conditions.”

American officials have repeatedly said they can start negotiations with the North only if it agrees to discuss denuclearizing. They have also insisted that the North first take some actions that would convince them of its sincerity.

Source: NYT > World

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