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Donald Trump’s North Korea ‘denuclearisation’ tweet untrue

The US president plans to meet with the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

US President Donald Trump has falsely claimed that North Korea agreed to “denuclearisation” before his potential meeting with Kim Jong-un.

North Korea said on Friday it would suspend nuclear tests and intercontinental ballistic missile launches ahead of summits with the US and South Korea.

Kim also said a nuclear test site would be closed and “dismantled” now that the country has learned how to make nuclear weapons and mount warheads on ballistic rockets.

But North Korea has stopped short of saying it has any intention of abandoning its nuclear arsenal, with Kim making clear that nukes remain a “treasured sword”.

Mr Trump, however, tweeted on Sunday that North Korea has “agreed to denuclearization (so great for World), site closure, & no more testing!”

Being committed to the concept of denuclearisation, however, is not the same as agreeing to it, as Mr Trump claims.

South Korea, which is set to meet with North Korea later this week, has said Kim has expressed genuine interest in dealing away his nuclear weapons.

But North Korea has for decades been pushing a concept of “denuclearisation” that bears no resemblance to the American definition, vowing to pursue nuclear development unless Washington removes its troops from the Korean Peninsula and the nuclear umbrella defending South Korea and Japan.

South Korea’s president has said Kim is not asking for the withdrawal of US troops from the Korean Peninsula as a condition for abandoning his nuclear weapons. If true, that would seem to remove a major sticking point to a potential disarmament deal.

But that still does not address a North Korean arsenal that now includes purported thermonuclear warheads and developmental ICBMs developed during a decades-long cycle of crises, stalemates and broken promises.

Mr Trump agreed to meet with Kim after an invitation was delivered by a South Korean delegation that had just returned from Pyongyang.

“I told President Trump that in our meeting, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he’s committed to denuclearization,” South Korea’s national security adviser later told reporters on the White House driveway. “Kim pledged that North Korea will refrain from any further nuclear or missile tests.”

A place and date have yet to be set, but Mr Trump’s pick to be the next US secretary of state, CIA director Mike Pompeo, travelled to North Korea on Easter weekend to lay the groundwork for the meeting.

Mr Trump has called the talks a success, but it is unclear exactly what was agreed to, if anything, as a condition for the leader-to-leader talks.

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