North Korea offers to ‘denuclearise’ if talks with the US were held
Won't hold further missile tests during dialogue.
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In a major diplomatic breakthrough that could possibly lead to a peaceful resolution of military tensions on the Korean Peninsula, North Korea said that it would suspend all nuclear and missile tests if talks with the United States (US) took place.
Will not conduct further missile tests while talks are ongoing
A statement released by South Korean envoys who met with the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Monday (Mar 5) indicated North Korean willingness to denuclearise:
“(North Korea) made it clear that it would have no reason to keep nuclear weapons if the military threat to the North was eliminated and its security guaranteed.”
The statement even said that “while dialogue is continuing, it will not attempt any strategic provocations, such as nuclear and ballistic missile tests”.
Observers also noted that the rare appearance of Kim’s wife, Ri Sol Ju, is a sign that the North is willing to engage the South.
Trump, as well as all the previous US administrations, had insisted that North Korea must be willing to commit to giving up its nuclear weapons before talks could even begin.
Kim might have initiated the move as he’s feeling the pressure caused by the multiple sanctions imposed by the US and the United Nations.
In a tweet yesterday (Mar 6), Trump offered a positive but guarded response:
Possible progress being made in talks with North Korea. For the first time in many years, a serious effort is being made by all parties concerned. The World is watching and waiting! May be false hope, but the U.S. is ready to go hard in either direction!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 6, 2018
While the Trump administration seemed willing to engage the highly isolated state, a senior official from the White House noted in The New York Times that North Korea might still be manufacturing missiles and bombs during a pause in testing.
Furthermore, during the 27 years in which the US has tried to negotiate with North Korea over its nuclear program, the latter has broken every agreement they ever made with the Americans.
North Korea unlikely to give up its nuclear weapons
A former senior State Department official who negotiated with North Korean officials during the Clinton administration said in a Washington Post report that it’s unlikely that Kim has “abandoned his determination to keep nuclear weapons indefinitely”:
“It may well be just a tactical shift.
… the Trump administration has little choice but to test North Korea’s seriousness by sitting down at a negotiating table and exploring what Kim Jong Un has in mind.”
It’ll be difficult to strike a deal with the North Koreans as well.
North Korea might set the goal of denuclearisation as a long-term objective while the US might want them to do that overnight.
They might also make demands for more economic aid and for US sanctions against them to stop, or even request American forces to leave South Korea.
And it might not even lead to anything concrete.
It’s widely seen by experts that Kim’s hold onto nuclear weapons is a means to preserve the Kim regime at all cost, even at the expense of the state’s citizens.
New US sanctions slapped on North Korea
Also, just yesterday (Mar 6), the US blasted Pyongyang for utilising a chemical weapon in a packed international airport in the assassination of Kim Jong Un’s half brother Kim Jong Nam.
The finding triggered another round of US economic sanctions against Pyongyang, despite the North’s latest offer to ‘denuclearise’.
Top image via TIME/YT