The U.S. reportedly demanded that North Korea dismantle nuclear warheads, nuclear materials, and missiles promptly or ship them overseas.
The demand was made by a U.S. team to its North Korean counterpart at talks held at Tongilgak on the northern side in the truce village of Panmunjom on Sunday to discuss the agenda for a U.S.-North Korea summit scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, according to a source on Monday.
"The Trump administration fears that it might repeat the mistake of past negotiations, which only dragged on and ended up in failure, unless North Korea's nuclear weapons are eliminated promptly," a government source here said.
"Washington's stance is that it can't give Pyongyang what it wants, be it the guarantee of the regime's survival or the easing of sanctions, until irreversible denuclearization is achieved," the source added.
Kyodo News reported that Pyongyang is reluctant to "ship up to 20 warheads overseas at an early date as part of measures to achieve a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea."
White House national security adviser John Bolton told ABC on May 14 denuclearization "means getting rid of all the nuclear weapons, dismantling them, taking them to Oak Ridge.”
"There's a wide gap in opinions between the two sides, because the North thinks it can't give up nuclear weapons first without any guarantees," the source said. "How to seek a compromise will determine whether a U.S.-North Korea summit can be held in Singapore at all and whether it will be successful should it take place."
The U.S. team led by Sung Kim, the U.S. ambassador to the Philippines, and the North Korean team headed by Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui focused on trying to find a point of convergence.
The U.S. wants to come up with a timetable for denuclearization and specify detailed steps and deadlines at the upcoming summit, according to another government source, but the North is against.
A black sedan escorted by a vehicle from the Joint Security Area head toward the truce village of Panmunjom on Monday. /Newsis