Pyongyang has not accepted that offer, although with sanctions increasingly biting, it is being suggested that Mr Kim may be considering other options that could be perceived as a concession to the international community’s demands at the same time as allowing him to save face.
“I guess transferring some ICBMs to China could be one of the cards that Kim Jong-un holds to have another round of summit [talks] with Donald Trump”, Lee Sang-soo, a research fellow at the Institute for Security and Development in Sweden, told Radio Free Asia.
Given China’s proximity, Mr Lee suggested it would be relatively straightforward for North Korea to entrust its ICBM arsenal to Beijing.
Daniel Pinkston, a professor of international relations at the Seoul campus of Troy University, agreed that moving the weapons over the border, “could serve as an interim step to get them out of North Korea and into the custody of a third party”.
He cautioned, however, that handing over all its ICBMs – and, potentially as a result of further measures towards denculearisation, the North’s warheads – would remove the strategic advantage that Pyongyang has developed by deploying nuclear weapons. And that may be a step too far for Mr Kim.