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North Korea would be expected to give up its missile and nuclear programs in exchange for U.S. promises not to challenge its borders and political system.   © Kyodo
International relations

US could leave Kim in place if Pyongyang scraps nukes

Shelving of military action on table, Washington tells Beijing

OKI NAGAI and TSUYOSHI NAGASAWA, Nikkei staff writers | China

BEIJING/WASHINGTON -- The U.S. has informed China of a plan in which it would promise not to undermine North Korea's Kim Jong Un and consider inviting the leader to meet with President Donald Trump if Pyongyang agrees to give up its nuclear and missile development, diplomatic insiders said.

Washington reportedly laid out four promises to North Korea if it scraps the weapons programs: it will not push for regime change; it will not seek the end of Kim's government; it will not launch an invasion above the 38th parallel, which separates North and South Korea; and it will not try to hurry along reunification of the Korean Peninsula.

U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson announced this plan in a lecture last Wednesday. It was reportedly conveyed to China as well, likely after the meeting between Trump and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Florida early last month.

Trump has said he would be open to meeting with Kim "under the right circumstances."

China has apparently passed on the message to North Korea while arguing that more forward-looking proposals will be needed to win over Pyongyang. Beijing is urging Washington to consider economic support, negotiating a formal peace treaty to officially end the Korean War, and starting talks toward normalizing diplomatic relations.

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