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N. Korea, U.S. working to forge deal on Yeongbyeon Nuclear Complex Updated: 2019-02-12 12:29:39 KST

With only two weeks remaining until the second North Korea-U.S. summit, a key question remains: will North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and U.S. President Donald Trump forge a deal that can satisfy both sides?

North Korea and the U.S. are searching for a balance between what Pyeongyang should do to fulfill its commitments toward denuclearization, and what Washington should offer in return.
Dismantling and verifying the North's Yeongbyeon nuclear complex would be the priority, as it's a key facility that produces both plutonium and uranium-- two essential materials for making nuclear weapons.
Kim mentioned it in the Pyeongyang Joint Declaration last September.
U.S. Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun also recently said at Stanford University, that Kim pledged to shut it down.
And ideal concessions from the U.S., could involve declaring an end to the Korean War and setting up a liaison office in Pyeongyang.
North Korea has also been demanding sanctions relief, but that would likely require a bolder step than destroying the Yeongbyeon complex.

These were among the issues discussed in Pyeongyang last week, by Biegun and his North Korean counterpart Kim Hyok-chol.
The two sides are scheduled to continue their working-level negotiations in a third Asian country next week.
Their second round of talks should help lay the groundwork for the two leaders' joint statement, and determine whether the second summit has more substance than the first.

According to the Blue House, South Korean President Moon Jae-in is also expected to discuss the summit with President Trump, likely over the phone next week.
How President Moon mediates between the two sides will also be an important variable, that could determine the success of the upcoming Vietnam summit.

Park Hee-jun, Arirang News.
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