June 21 (UPI) -- North Korean diplomats who attended an informal meeting with former U.S., South Korean and Japanese officials and academics may have expressed interest in denuclearization.
Hajime Izumi, an international relations professor at Tokyo International University, told Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun that officials from Pyongyang had not abandoned the aim of denuclearizing the peninsula espoused by former leader Kim Jong Il.
Izumi met with North Koreans during the forum held at Sweden's Institute for Security and Development Policy on June 1-2, according to the report.
North Korea stressed the development of nuclear weapons was for the sake of "self-defense" during the dialogue, while demanding the United States not to deploy nuclear weapons to the peninsula, the analyst said.
The report did not identify the North Korean officials who attended the informal Track 1.5 talks.
Ahead of the meeting, South Korean newspaper Hankyoreh reported the officials were from the North Korean foreign ministry's disarmament and peace institute.
From the United States, former CIA analysts Sue Mi Terry and Bruce Klingner were in attendance, and Shin Bong-kil, a visiting professor at South Korea's Yonsei University Graduate School of International Studies, went on behalf of Seoul.
The Japanese newspaper also reported North Korean officials said at an international conference held in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, on June 14-16, that the Armistice Agreement that brought truce to the peninsula after the 1950-53 Korean War should be replaced with a peace treaty.