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NK diplomat reaffirms commitment to 'phased, synchronized' denuclearization

BACU -- A North Korean diplomat reaffirmed Tuesday that Pyongyang remains committed to denuclearizing the peninsula through progressive and simultaneous actions.

"With regard to negotiations on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, (the issue) can be resolved with phased, synchronized measures," the diplomat told Yonhap News Agency, asking not to be named.

The official accompanied the North's Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho at a ministerial-level meeting of the Non-Aligned Movement in Baku, Azerbaijan, last week.

The move suggests that the communist nation's diplomats are trying to drum up international support for leader Kim Jong-un's vision for denuclearization.


In this file photo provided Wednesday, March 28, by China`s Xinhua News Agency, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands in Beijing. (Yonhap-AP-Xinhua)
In this file photo provided Wednesday, March 28, by China`s Xinhua News Agency, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, left, and Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands in Beijing. (Yonhap-AP-Xinhua)

Meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing in late March, Kim was quoted as saying that he's willing to achieve peace and stability in the region through phased and synchronized steps toward denuclearization.

He's scheduled to hold summit talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at a border village on April 27, followed by a meeting with US President Donald Trump as early as May.

Kim's reported remarks drew a mixed response from North Korea watchers in Seoul and Washington.

It's meaningful that the North's leader expressed a commitment to denuclearization himself. But the talk of phased and synchronized measures triggered concerns that it may herald a setback to the implementation of a potential package deal, which is sought by the US and South Korea, given the secretive regime's track record of reneging on previous agreements that followed a "word-for-word" and "action-for-action" approach.

Nuclear deals with the North from the currently suspended six-party talks fell apart amid a controversy over the sequence of agreed-upon actions. (Yonhap)

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