North Korean diplomat calls for ‘progressive, simultaneous’ denuclearization

SEOUL, April 9 (UPI) — North Korea’s top diplomat has expressed Pyongyang’s interest in seeking “progressive and simultaneous” denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, Yonhap News reported.

Pyongyang’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho revealed the stance to the South Korean news agency, in Azerbaijan, where he attended the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) Mid-term Ministerial Conference in the capital last week.

His words echo the remarks made by regime leader Kim Jong Un last month during his summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Kim reportedly said, “The issue of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula can be resolved, if South Korea and the United States respond to our efforts with good will, create an atmosphere of peace and stability, while taking progressive and synchronous measures to realize peace.”

Experts have questioned what the North means by the so-called progressive and simultaneous measures, suggesting that the North is seeking to receive “compensation first and denuclearize later,” as it has done in the past.

According to Japanese media, the North Korean leader also told Xi that he wants a security guarantee of his regime from Washington, the removal of international sanctions and provision of broad economic support before the denuclearization process.

Seoul’s foreign ministry last month said there needs to be more time to analyse what the North means by its approach to denuclearization, JoongAng Ilbo reported.

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