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U.S., DPRK allegedly discussing “phased” denuclearization

Sunday’s Yomiuri front-paged a report from Seoul claiming that it has learned from a source connected to U.S.-Japan-ROK talks on the DPRK that the United States and North Korea have been discussing the possible phased denuclearization of the DPRK. The paper alleged that Washington is demanding that Pyongyang abandon its ICBM development plans and scrap its declared nuclear and missile facilities first. According to the report, the DPRK is calling on the United States to take “corresponding measures,” such as relaxing sanctions on oil imports and financial transactions and exempting economic exchanges with South Korea from the sanctions. The paper wrote that according to the source, the United States and the DPRK discussed this approach at the talks held between Secretary of State Pompeo and Workers’ Party of Korea Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol on Jan. 18 and the working-level talks held after that in Sweden. The source also said that the two nations are talking about achieving complete denuclearization by the end of 2020. They are also reportedly discussing the conduct of nationwide inspections to verify denuclearization.

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