Cheong Wa Dae says goal remains complete denuclearization of N. Korea

SEOUL, South Korea on Thursday dismissed the possibility of any discord with the United States over how to rid North Korea of its nuclear program, saying their common goal of complete denuclearization is unchanged.

"Our government's stance remains unchanged from what is contained in the Panmunjom Declaration and the Singapore Declaration that confirmed the goals contained in the Panmunjom Declaration," said Kim Eui-kyeom, a spokesman for Seoul's presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

The remarks followed recent reports that the U.S. may have shifted its strategy to a gradual or step-by-step denuclearization of North Korea amid an apparent delay in the start of denuclearization measures by the North.

Earlier reports even suggested the communist state instead has expanded the facilities it uses to produce nuclear weapons.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to completely denuclearize the Korean Peninsula in his historic summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in the border town of Panmunjom on April 27.

He reaffirmed his commitment to complete denuclearization in a meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump held in Singapore on June 12.

The Cheong Wa Dae spokesman refused to verify whether the U.S. stance has in fact changed, only saying his country is working to faithfully implement the joint declaration of the leaders of the two Koreas.

The Panmunjom Declaration only states the goal of completely denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula without elaborating on how.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is set to visit North Korea on Friday to discuss how the North will give up its nuclear weapons.

Seoul earlier said Pompeo and his South Korean counterpart, Kang Kyung-wha, will head to Tokyo on Sunday for a three-way meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono on the outcome of Pompeo's North Korea trip.

Source: Yonhap News Agency

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