Trump to discuss North Korea sanctions relief only after denuclearization: Report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump (L) and North Korea leader Kim Jong-un (file photo)

US President Donald Trump will discuss sanctions relief with North Korea leader Kim Jong-un only after Pyongyang gets rid of its nuclear arsenal, a new report has revealed.

"When the president says that he will not make the mistakes of the past, that means the U.S. will not be making substantial concessions, such as lifting sanctions, until North Korea has substantially dismantled its nuclear programs," a senior Trump administration official was quoted as saying by The Wall Street Journal on Sunday.

Washington has engineered several rounds of crippling international and unilateral sanctions on North Korea since July last year, when Pyongyang intensified its tests of long-range missiles and nuclear warheads.

North Korean sources claim that Kim has accepted to denuclearize before his upcoming meeting with Trump, which is expected to be held sometime in the coming weeks, CNN reported.

Earlier on Sunday, Trump rejected criticism that he had made big concessions to Pyongyang in order to convince Kim to come to the table.

"Wow, we haven't given up anything & they have agreed to denuclearization (so great for World), site closure, & no more testing!" Trump tweeted, noting that it was too soon to make conclusions.

"We are a long way from conclusion on North Korea, maybe things will work out, and maybe they won't -- only time will tell," he said in a second tweet.

The North Korean leader, whose country has so far resisted the pressure campaign led by Washington to try to force it to abandon its weapons programs, said Friday that his country’s quest for nuclear weapons was “complete” and it “no longer needs” to test its weapons capability.

Kim was also cited as saying that the suspension will start Saturday and that he would also shut down the site where the country conducted its previous six nuclear tests in a bid to pursue economic growth and peace on the Korean Peninsula.

Russia, China, the European Union (EU), Japan and South Korea have all hailed the North Korean leader’s announcement.

Trump also welcomed the decision as “good news for the world,” and said that he was “looking forward” to meeting with Kim in a summit.

While he seems to have softened to the idea of denuclearization, Kim has yet to officially announce his country is willing to dismantle its nuclear weapons program.

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