Pyongyang open to talks on ending nuclear weapons push, it tells Seoul


North Korea took its most significant step towards diffusing its nuclear stand-off with the US yesterday, telling Seoul it is open to negotiations over ending its weapons programme and would suspend its contentious testing regime while talks were under way.


The concessions, relayed by a high-level delegation of South Korean officials after meeting in Pyongyang with Kim Jong Un, mark a significant change for the North Korean leader, who had touted his nuclear weapons as a 「treasured sword of justice」.

韓國高級別代表團在平壤與金正恩(Kim Jong Un)會晤後轉達的這些讓步,標誌著朝鮮領導人的立場出現重大轉變,他曾宣稱朝鮮的核武器是「正義寶劍」。

「The North Korean side clearly stated its willingness to denuclearise,」 South Korean officials said in a statement after a lavish banquet that was part of what is believed to be the first meeting between Mr Kim and South Korean leaders. Pyongyang would be willing to give up its nuclear weapons 「if military threat to the north was eliminated and its security guaranteed」, it added.


If confirmed by the North Koreans, the diplomatic overture would mark a sea change for a region that appeared on the brink of war just five months ago after Pyongyang resumed nuclear and missile testing that prompted the Trump administration to warn of a 「massive military response」.

Donald Trump signalled his willingness to go along with the North Korean overtures, which include an April meeting between Mr Kim and South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the demilitarised zone separating the two nations.

若得到朝鮮方面的證實,這一外交緩和將標誌著地區局勢發生重大變化;五個月前,這裡還似乎處於戰爭邊緣,原因是平壤恢複核試驗和導彈試射,促使特朗普政府警告要作出「大規模軍事回應」 。

「Possible progress being made in talks with North Korea,」 Mr Trump wrote on Twitter. 「For the first time in many years, a serious effort is being made by all parties concerned . . . May be false hope, but the US is ready to go hard in either direction!」

唐納德•特朗普(Donald Trump)發出信號表明,他願意接受朝鮮伸出的橄欖枝,包括金正恩與韓國總統文在寅(Moon Jae-in) 4月在隔開兩國的非軍事區舉行會談。

The move comes after weeks of growing closeness between North and South Korea, which used the Winter Olympics in the south to reopen frozen relations.


Pyongyang』s move is particularly striking given the White House』s cool reaction to the Olympic diplomacy, with vice-president Mike Pence, who attended the opening ceremony in Pyeongchang, refusing to engage with the North Korean delegation.


「Whichever direction talks with North Korea go, we will be firm in our resolve,」 Mr Pence said yesterday. 「All options are on the table and our posture toward the regime will not change until we see credible, verifiable and concrete steps toward de-nuclearisation.」

考慮到白宮對奧運外交的冷淡反應——出席平昌冬奧會開幕式的副總統邁克•彭斯(Mike Pence)拒絕與朝鮮代表團接觸,平壤的舉動尤其引人注目。

The US agreed to postpone military exercises with Seoul during the Olympics, but they are scheduled to resume in April. The Pentagon gave no indication whether it would delay them again.


Mr Pence said the US and its allies 「remain committed to applying maximum pressure on the Kim regime」. Relaunching the exercises could undermine the planned inter-Korean dialogue. South Korea』s currency strengthened by against the dollar after the new.


Additional reporting by Kang Buseong in Seoul



Kang Buseong首爾補充報導


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