North Korea okay with US troops remaining in South Korea: Moon Jae-in
For the West and its allies, it couldn't get better than this. Kim Jong-un's North Korea, a country which has in the recent past posed a major threat to world peace with its reckless nuclear ambitions, has dropped its demand of the US removing forces from South Korea in lieu of its denuclearisation, South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday, April 19, a week ahead of his much-awaited summit with the former.
The US has around 28,000 troops deployed in South Korea, something that has angered Kim whose country is still technically at war with South Korea since the Korean War of the early 1950s did not see a peace treaty signed between the warring parties but an armistice.
However, in a drastically changing environment over the past few months when the opposition parties in the region have embraced each other with a common objective of 'taming' North Korea and Pyongyang has responded to the process with a receptive mind.
Kim met Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in March end; is scheduled to meet Moon Jae-in on April 27 and is also likely to meet US President Donald Trump in May end or early June.
But North Korea's willingness to give up its nuclear ambitions without forcing the condition of the American troops' withdrawal makes the rapprochement look all the easier.
"North Korea has expressed willingness to give up its nuclear program without making (a) demand that the (US Forces Korea) forces withdraw from the Korean Peninsula," CNN quoted Moon as saying to the media. He also said that any proposed troop withdrawal would be a condition that the US could not accept.
Moon added that North Korea is concerned about its security and wants hostility against it to end. He said Pyongyang has agreed to sit with Washington with this clarification.
Officials from both Koreas will have rehearsals ahead of the summit, South Korean officials said on Thursday. While Seoul will have two rehearsals on April 24 and 26, Pyongyang will conduct its sole rehearsal ahead of the summit on D-Day, CNN added.
North Korea's softened stand came after Trump remarked on Wednesday, April 18, that he would leave the summit meeting with Kim if it didn't fulfil his expectations.