North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is bringing up the idea of a peace treaty to U.S. President Donald Trump, South Korean media reported.
According to Dong-A Ilbo, an unidentified official in Seoul claimed that Kim will likely raise the offer in a meeting with Trump, including the prospect of diplomatic relations and nuclear disarmament.
While Trump agreed to meet Kim, the administration maintains its stance toward North Korea until the regime begins to dissolve its nuclear program. The two leaders have since been in a heated exchange.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters on March 9, according to CNN:
“They have made some major promises. They have made promises to denuclearize. They have made promises to stop nuclear and missile testing. We’re not going to have this meeting take place until we see concrete actions that match the words and the rhetoric of North Korea.”
The peace treaty is expected to end an ongoing ceasefire between Pyongyang and Washington, as well as to protect the former’s sovereignty. It also puts the presence of American military in Seoul on the table for discussion.
Koh Yu-hwan, who teaches North Korean studies at Dongguk University in South Korea, told Bloomberg:
“There were agreements between the U.S. and North Korea to open up discussion on a peace treaty, but they never materialized. The U.S. wants a peace treaty at the end of the denuclearization process, while for the North, it’s the precondition for its denuclearization.”
Kim and Trump’s meeting is expected to happen in May. Trump told reporters on March 12, according to AFP:
“I think North Korea is going to go very well, I think we will have tremendous success… The promise is they wouldn’t be shooting off missiles in the meantime, and they’re looking to de-nuke. So that’d be great.”
In commentary, South Korean President Moon Jae-in thanked both leaders and vowed to make preparations:
“This is an almost miraculous event; my administration will prepare toward the May meeting with utmost diligence.”