North Korea: U.S. forces must withdraw for denuclearization

SEOUL, July 6 (UPI) — North Korea said denuclearization could only be realized if U.S. forces withdraw from the peninsula, in a statement that also claimed the United States retains weapons of mass destruction in South Korea.

Pyongyang made the announcement on Wednesday, and included five proposed requirements that could lead to the end of its nuclear weapons program, Yonhap reported.

“If the United States and South Korea authorities take the slightest interest in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula our principled requirements must be accepted,” the statement on KCNA read.

The first requirement, according to North Korea, is the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the South, where U.S. forces “hold the nuclear license.”

Pyongyang then said the United States must make public its arsenal of nuclear weapons. The weapons are in the South, the statement read.

The weapons in question must be destroyed and undergo international inspections, then the United States should guarantee that it will “never again plan methods of nuclear strike on Korean peninsula.”

Lastly, the United States should promise not to threaten North Korea with acts of war and vow not to use nuclear weapons against Pyongyang, the statement read.

If the requirements are met, a “landmark breakthrough” in the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula will be realized, according to Pyongyang.

North Korea also said its current status as a nuclear weapons state is justified because it is confronting the world’s largest nuclear power.

The nuclear standoff between Pyongyang and Washington, as well as with rival Seoul, is creating tensions – but according to South Korean newspaper Hankuk Ilbo, the U.N. Secretary-General is seeking to host a meeting between the South Korean President Park Geun-hye and North Korea’s Kim Jong Un.

Ban Ki-moon wants the two sides to meet in November during a U.N.-hosted conference to be held in Turkmenistan, according to the press report.

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