US diplomat: Denuclearization at core of talks

US diplomat: Denuclearization at core of talks

A senior American diplomat says working-level talks between the US and North Korea should focus on defining a path for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

Former US Acting Assistant Secretary of State Susan Thornton was interviewed by NHK on Wednesday.

She said, "What's important about the meeting is they set the tone for continued hard work on the proposition that Kim Jong Un wants to do something different, and he has agreed to denuclearization."

Thornton emphasized the importance of a second summit meeting between the United States and North Korea.

US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un held their first meeting in Singapore in June.

Thornton also said, "Now the question is really how to take this diplomatic momentum and turn it into a process that can be durable, sustainable and produce the results that everyone wants to see. And I think the result that everyone wants to see is denuclearization."

So far, the North hasn't responded to US demands that it declare its nuclear facilities. But Thornton said the US should go ahead with inspections at nuclear test sites. The North has indicated it would accept these checks.

Thornton added, "What I'm saying is that's a different dynamic than the one we have now. I think it's worth testing whether that's a serious offer."

She also suggested the US should consider signing a declaration to end the Korean War if the North takes concrete steps toward denuclearization.

Thornton said, "We could have a step that could be a demonstration of seriousness on the part of the North Koreans in this area. And in order to get that step you're probably going to need to get a counter-step on our part."