Kim Jong Un, the bellicose North Korean leader, hopes to sign a peace deal after the upcoming meeting with President Donald Trump, which is tentatively set for May, Bloomberg reported, citing a South Korea report.
Dong-A Ilbo, South Korea's national newspaper, spoke to an unidentified senior official from President Moon Jae-in's office, who said Kim will likely raise the possibility of the peace treaty.
The report said Kim is also likely to voice his desire to establish diplomatic relations with the U.S. and consider nuclear disarmament, the report said.
The regime wants a peace treaty to end the more than 60-year-old ceasefire between the two sides and to safeguard its sovereignty, Koh Yu-hwan, who teaches North Korean studies at Dongguk University in Seoul, told the outlet.
“There were agreements between the U.S. and North Korea to open up discussion on a peace treaty, but they never materialized,” Koh said. “The U.S. wants a peace treaty at the end of the denuclearization process, while for the North, it’s the precondition for its denuclearization.”
The peace treaty would need to address issues such as the U.S. military’s presence in South Korea and the continued military drills aimed at countering the North’s threat in the region.
Trump last week accepted a meeting with Kim – expected sometime in May – but the key details of the meeting are yet to be decided.
Despite speculation of possible denuclearization, it is still widely believed that Kim will insist on keeping some nuclear weapons as a deterrent – a proposal that might be too hard to swallow for the Trump administration that came out against nuclear North Korea in any shape or form.
Kim might also propose giving a full report on the North’s current nuclear weapons arsenal and allowing international verification once the denuclearization process takes hold, said Choi Kang, vice president of Seoul’s Asan Institute for Policy Studies.
In addition, North Korea could offer Trump to release several American citizens currently being imprisoned in the country.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.