N Korea slams US, S Korea talks over defence cost-sharing deal

ANI | Updated: Mar 14, 2018 09:47 IST

Seoul [South Korea], Mar 14 (ANI): North Korea on Wednesday slammed the ongoing negotiations between South Korea and the United States to renew their deal on defence cost sharing, claiming that Seoul wanted the withdrawal of US forces from the Korean Peninsula, according to a North Korean newspaper.

"What South Koreans want is an unconditional withdrawal of US troops from the South, an unwelcome guest that poses a threat to peace and security on the Korean Peninsula," The Rodong Sinmun, the newspaper of the North Korea's ruling Worker's Party said.

According to experts, North Korea plans to strengthen its "bargaining power" ahead of the proposed talks, the Yonhap news agency reported.

Last week, South Korea and the US held their first round of talks over the renewal of their five-year deal of Seoul's share of the upkeep of around 28,500 US forces, who are stationed in South Korea to prevent any untoward incidents from North Korea.

Pyongyang has long asserted that the US forces should be pulled out from South Korea for peace. According to analysts, North Korea might seek reunification with the South by force, if the US troops are withdrawn.

The US-North Korea politics took a dramatic turn on Friday when Kim invited US President Donald Trump for a meeting, and the latter duly accepted to meet by May.

However, President Trump stated that sanctions on North Korea would remain in place until the Communist country achieved denuclearisation in the Korean Peninsula. The summit would be the first between a sitting US President and a North Korean leader.

South Korean President Moon Jae-in's special envoys headed to Pyongyang and met with Kim.

The North Korean leader hosted a special welcome dinner for the envoys at the headquarters of the Worker's Party in Pyongyang. It was also the first time that a leader from North Korea met with South Korean dignitaries till date.

The two Koreas agreed to hold an inter-Korean summit late next month, in exchange with the former's willingness to abandon nuclear weapons for a security guarantee last week.

The envoys, who briefed President Trump during their two-day visit to Washington D.C. last week, reiterated that Kim was committed to achieving denuclearisation and meeting with the US President.

However, Uncertainty lingers over the first-ever meeting between President Trump and Kim as Washington D.C. is yet to hear directly from Pyongyang on the invitation extended by Kim via South Korean intermediaries.

Also, North Korea's state media has kept mum so far about the Trump-Kim meet and a separate meeting between Kim and President Moon respectively. (ANI)