U.S. Offers North Korea a Detailed Denuclearization Roadmap at Hanoi
Ben Lee, May 22, 2019, 8:57 a.m.
The United States provided a point-by-point explanation to North Korea of its roadmap for denuclearization at their Hanoi summit early this year, but the North refused to accept it, a lawmaker has said. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un instead talked only about dismantling the country's Yongbyon nuclear complex in return for sanctions relief, leading to the collapse of the talks, Rep. Lee Soo-hyuck of the ruling Democratic Party said at a meeting with correspondents on Tuesday.
"The U.S. sufficiently explained its roadmap to the North in detail and the North ended up never giving a clear answer to the start and end points (the U.S. offered)," he said.
Lee was in Washington with a group of fellow lawmakers to attend a series of meetings with U.S. politicians affiliated with a Korea-U.S. diplomatic forum. A former career diplomat, Lee served as South Korea's first chief delegate to six-party talks on the North's nuclear program.
Nuclear talks between Washington and Pyongyang have made little headway since the Hanoi summit of Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump ended without a deal. They failed to reach common ground on the scope of denuclearization by the communist state and Washington's sanctions relief.
Lee pointed out that, under the U.S. proposal, Washington is ready to implement the denuclearization process step-by-step, but every one of those steps must be taken before the North gets any reward.
"The phased-in solution by the U.S. does not mean doing everything all at once, including resolving (nuclear) facilities, fissile material and ICBMs. It means doing things in stages with North Korea's nuclear weapons to be completely removed at the endpoint," he said.
"Looking at the attitude at the negotiations, resolving (the issue) all at once was not the U.S. policy," he said.
Asked about the U.S. assessment of the North's latest missile firings, the lawmaker said that was not included on the agenda at the meeting with the U.S. counterparts.
He also declined to comment on Trump's recent remarks about how he had told Kim in Hanoi that he knew about five nuclear facilities in the North when Kim offered to destroy one or two.
"This trip was not about gathering intelligence but was to draw up the big picture, so we didn't try to get all the details," Lee said.