Washington, Feb 1 (IANS) The US State Department’s top envoy on North Korea has said that Washington was not looking to invade Pyongyang and signalled that America will be willing to formally end the Korean War.
“President (Donald) Trump is ready to end this war,” Stephen Biegun, the US Special Representative for North Korea, said at Stanford University on Thursday.
“It is over, it is done. We are not going to invade North Korea. We are not seeking to topple the North Korean regime,” CNN quoted him as saying.
“I am absolutely convinced, and more importantly the President of the US is convinced, that it’s time to move past 70 years of war and hostility in the Korean Peninsula. There’s no reason for this conflict to persist any longer.”
The North Koreans have pushed for the US to commit to a formal peace treaty to end the decades-old conflict, CNN reported.
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in pledged to bring a formal end to the Korean War during their landmark summit in April last year.
In his remarks at Stanford, Biegun also dismissed the prospect that the US would agree to withdraw troops from South Korea as a concession to Kim.
“We are not involved in any diplomatic discussion that would suggest this trade off. It has never been discussed,” the envoy said.
He also said that Kim committed to dismantle and destroy all of North Korea’s plutonium and uranium enrichment facilities if the US takes “corresponding measures”.
“Exactly what these measures are are a matter I plan to discuss with my North Korean counterpart during our next set of meetings.
“From our side, we are prepared to discuss many actions that could help build trust between our two countries and advance further progress in parallel on the Singapore summit objectives of transforming relations, establishing a permanent peace regime on the peninsula, and complete denuclearization,” Biegun said.
Biegun’s remarks, delivered as he prepares to travel to Seoul for meetings with North and South Korean officials, were his first public address since taking the job five months ago, reports CNN.
Trump is slated to meet Kim for a second summit by the end of this month. The date and the venue is yet to be decided.