North Korea is likely to demand a security guarantee that includes the withdrawal of all US troops from South Korea in return for dismantling its nuclear capability, a former US diplomat said Saturday.
"The North Koreans will now insist upon complete withdrawal" of US forces, Kenneth Quinones, a retired US State Department Korea specialist, said in an interview.
That would accompany existing demands for normalization of diplomatic and commercial relations, economic concessions and reactors for power generation, he said.
Quinones served as a North Korea desk officer at the State Department and spent time in the isolationist country during the mid-1990s amid a period of US engagement with Pyongyang.
Currently a professor at Akita International University in Japan, Quinones spoke on the sidelines of the World Congress of Korean Studies in the city of Jeju, on the South Korean island of the same name.
North Korea, economically poor yet highly militarized, has for years confounded international efforts to stop its pursuit of nuclear weapons. It has refused to attend multilateral talks on dismantling its nuclear program since December, citing a US hostile attitude and financial sanctions imposed by Washington.