SEOUL, South Korea (AP) North Korea said today it will never unilaterally give up its nuclear weapons unless the United States first removes what Pyongyang called a nuclear threat. The surprisingly blunt statement jars with Seouls rosier presentation of the North Korean position and could rattle the fragile trilateral diplomacy to defuse a nuclear crisis that last year had many fearing war.
The latest from North Korea comes as the United States and North Korea struggle over the sequencing of the denuclearization that Washington wants and the removal of international sanctions desired by Pyongyang. weapons as Seoul tries to sustain a positive atmosphere for dialogue.
The statement suggests North Korea will eventually demand the U.S. withdraw or significantly reduce the 28,500 American troops stationed in South Korea, a major sticking point in any disarmament deal.
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