North Korean communist dictator Kim Jong-un is seeking a “peace treaty” with the United States over future military activity, according to South Korean officials.
The South Korean newspaper Dong-a Ilbo cites an unidentified senior official in the country’s presidential office who revealed that the young dictator plans to discuss the possibility of a peace treaty with President Donald Trump when the pair meets later this year.
Bloomberg cites the professor of North Korean studies Koh Yu-hwan at Dongguk University in Seoul, who believes that any treaty involving denuclearization would require the U.S. to remove its military presence in South Korea.
“There were agreements between the U.S. and North Korea to open up discussion on a peace treaty, but they never materialized,” Koh said. “The U.S. wants a peace treaty at the end of the denuclearization process, while for the North, it’s the precondition for its denuclearization.”
Last week, Trump accepted an invitation to meet Kim Jong-un “as soon as possible” to begin discussions about potential denuclearization, with North Korea agreeing to refrain from further nuclear tests in the near future.
The potential diplomatic breakthrough follows a series of joint efforts from both South and North Korea at the recent Winter Olympics, marking a minor thaw period for two nations still technically at war.
Kim Jong-un recently invited a South Korean envoy to Pyongyang to discuss bilateral relations. Sources who attended the meeting confirmed that Kim was ready to discuss denuclearization, which he reportedly claimed was his father Kim Jong-il’s “dying wish.”
However, any peace treaty will likely require serious diplomatic efforts and compromises from both sides, given the huge mistrust between the two countries.
During the past year, both the U.S. and North Korea have repeatedly threatened to blow each other out of existence. The two countries have never enjoyed diplomatic relations.
Both leaders have also exchanged personal insults. Trump once jokingly declined to describe Kim as “short and fat” and called him a “rocket man on a suicide mission.” North Korean state media have mocked Trump for having a “nasty smell,” demanded he be “urgently sent to a lunatics asylum,” and has even declared him “sentenced to death” for insulting Kim’s body shape.
Kim also recently accepted an invitation to visit South Korea in the truce village of Panmunjom, according to South Korean media, and will become the first North Korean leader to do since the two countries separated.