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North Korea says will abandon nukes by its own timetable

Staff Writer |
North Korea will stick to its own plan when denuclearizing, official media said Monday, even as Pyongyang officials aim to narrow differences with the United States.

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North Korea “is advancing along the path taken by itself according to its timetable no matter whatever others may say and wherever the wind may blow from," stated a commentary carried by the North’s ruling party newspaper and state-run KCNA news agency.

The question of exactly how the North will fulfill leader Kim Jong-un’s promise to denuclearize has remained a mystery since he confirmed the vow during a breakthrough inter-Korean summit on April 27.

While Pyongyang celebrated its move last week to dismantle North Korea’s nuclear test site, critics point out that that is very different from giving up the weapons it has spent years developing.

The U.S. has publicly pressed for the North’s complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization, seemingly in a swift process.

With Pyongyang reportedly preferring a phased approach, U.S. officials led by career diplomat and former nuclear negotiator Sung Kim entered North Korea Sunday for talks that are set to last until Tuesday, with the stated aim of setting up the on-again, off-again summit between President Donald Trump and the North’s Chairman Kim Jong-un on June 12.

Diplomatic sources cited by Yonhap News Agency also revealed that North Korean officials arrived in China Monday en route to Singapore, where the unprecedented Trump-Kim meeting may yet take place despite the U.S. leader’s cancellation last week.

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