North and South Korea held a historic summit that may finally ease tensions on the Korean Peninsula. North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un told South Korean President Moon Jae-in that he would be willing to give up his nuclear weapons under a few conditions. Before giving up his weapons, Kim would need the United States to acknowledge a formal end to the Korean War and pledge not to attack the North. North and South Korea have technically been at war since the 1950s. The North Korean leader also told the South that his country is shutting down nuclear test sites in May. Kim said he would be willing to disclose the process to experts and journalist from both the United States and South Korea.
It is still unclear if North Korea will ever give up all of its nuclear weapons, but Kim’s comments seem to indicate that they would. U.S. officials did not react or show much enthusiasm for Kim’s comments about denuclearization. U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton was asked about the comments and said, “Well we’ve heard this before. This is-the North Korean propaganda playbook is an infinitely rich resource.” Bolton also added that the U.S. needed to see evidence that North Korea was serious and that the comments were “not just rhetoric.”
Ahead of the talks between President Trump and North Korea, Seoul officials have assured the United States that Kim is serious. However, there is still skepticism at what North Korea means when it says denuclearization. The U.S. and North Korea have drastically different definitions of the term. North Korea has been pushing their version of denuclearization of the region for nearly a decade which includes the U.S. taking its 28,500 troops out of South Korea.
Kim expressed optimism about his upcoming meeting with Trump. “Once we start talking, the United States will know that I am not a person to launch nuclear weapons at South Korea, the Pacific or the United States,” Kim said, according to a South Korean spokesman. Trump and Kim are set to meet sometime in the early summer.