North Korea says peace treaty no bargaining chip for denuclearisation

Geneva Stokes
October 2, 2018

As part of last month's deal, guard posts and weapons will be shipped out of the JSA after the demining.

A top South Korean official told lawmakers that North Korea is estimated to have up to 60 nuclear weapons, in Seoul's first public comment about the size of the North's secrecy-clouded weapons arsenal. Troops remaining in the area are to be unarmed. There, they'll search for the remains of soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War, the South's Defense Ministry said.

The JSA is the only area along the 155-mile long demilitarized zone, or DMZ, where troops from both countries are face to face.

In 2015, two South Korean soldiers were maimed by what Seoul said was a North Korean landmine, an accusation the North denied.

According to South Korean government reports, North Korea is believed to have produced 110 pounds of weaponized plutonium, enough for at least eight bombs. Aiming to reduce conventional military threats, they also agreed to remove 11 front-line guard posts by December and set up buffer zones along their land and sea boundaries and a no-fly zone above the border to prevent accidental clashes.

South Korea would find itself more vulnerable to North Korean infiltration and assault via land routes, while North Korea would worry about front-line soldiers and residents escaping to the South more easily, Lee said.

KCNA said that Pyongyang was willing to take "such. steps as eternal dismantlement" of its nuclear complex "if the USA takes a corresponding measure" but again did not elaborate.

Moon defended the agreements in remarks Monday on South Korea's 70th Armed Forces Day.

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South Korea's main spy agency, the National Intelligence Service, did not comment immediately on the disclosure, Sky News reported.

Many foreign experts say North Korea are likely running additional secret uranium-enrichment plants.

North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un reaffirmed his "steadfast stand" Monday to deepen relations with China in his message to Chinese leader Xi Jinping on the occasion of China's 69th founding anniversary, the North's state media said.

"I think it's the worst-ever South-North Korean agreement that made a concession in our defense posture before (North Korean) denuclearization is achieved", Shin Wonsik, a former vice chairman of the South's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said last week.

The North entered talks with the United States and South Korea earlier this year, saying it's willing to negotiate away its advancing nuclear arsenal. But Trump, Pompeo and other USA officials have recently reported progress in denuclearization discussions with the North. Pompeo is to make his third trip to North Korea soon.

An editorial in a state-run North Korean newspaper added that a declaration replacing the 65-year-old armistice to formally end the Korean War "is not just a gift from a man to another".

Meanwhile, on Monday, South Korea held a ceremony marking the recent return of the remains of 64 South Korean soldiers missing from the Korean War.

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