April 25, 2018 13:29
The withdrawal of U.S. forces is not on a list of security guarantees Washington could offer North Korea if it dismantles its nuclear program, a senior U.S. State Department official said Tuesday.
Susan Thornton, acting assistant secretary for East Asian and Pacific affairs, told reporters in Seoul that otherwise Washington is ready to listen to Pyongyang's ideas.
She said Washington's position remains the same and stressed that the Seoul-Washington alliance and joint annual military exercises are defensive in nature.
Asked if the U.S. can confirm how sincere Pyongyang is, she said, "What we have seen so far is the statements about the willingness to denuclearize. And what we have to do now is we have to test the sincerity of the statements."
"Words are important. It's a good sign... But it's not enough to convince us of the sincerity."
White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said the U.S. will not take the North Koreans "simply at their word," but will continue the "maximum pressure" campaign until it can see the results.
Commenting on the North's announcement that it is closing the Punggye-ri nuclear test site, she said, "We've seen some steps in the right direction but we have a long way to go."
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