Tuesday 6 March, 2018 Update: North Korea Signals Willingness To Discuss Denuclearization

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North Korea has laid out an offer it hopes cannot be refused by Seoul and Washington. During two days of talks in Pyongyang with envoys from South Korea, the North said it was willing to begin negotiations with the United States aimed at denuclearization, and would impose a moratorium on missile and nuclear tests during those talks. In a statement released by South Korean President Moon Jae-in, it was said that North Korea made it clear that it would have no reason to keep its nuclear weapons if the military threat to the country was eliminated and its security guaranteed. It is obvious that the North regards the United States as the primary military threat to its security, and survival.

Pyongyang also claims to want to make progress on the unification front, though on this subject their sincerity is even more questionable. Unification in the North is defined as reuniting the Korean peninsula under the rule of Kim’s regime. It means something quite different south of the DMZ, naturally. Both nations are moving forward with talks aimed at a late-April summit between Kim Jong Un and Moon. It would be the first Inter-Korean summit meeting in eleven years. On the subject of the annual US-South Korean military exercises to be held in April, Kim Jong Un claimed to understand why they needed to be held, though if the situation between the two Koreas stabilizes, he expects the size of the exercises to be adjusted.

The South Koreans were caught off guard by the flexibility of the North’s positions,  Kim’s willingness to negotiate, and even give up his nuclear weapons under the right circumstances. Nevertheless, Seoul appears to be delighted with what the talks in Pyongyang have produced, both in substance and potential. Washington’s reaction will presumably be more guarded and pessimistic. North Korea’s newfound candor is out of character. Until concrete proof is presented to the White House, the Trump administration will remain hopeful, but regard Pyongyang’s words and promises as nothing more than Kim Jong Un selling a bill of goods.

7 comments

  1. I would not be surprised if China gave Trump the word early on that they’d be pulling away from NK, and that’s left this as their only option. Even though they’d likely fare well in a military confrontation, I can’t image it’d be their first option.

  2. Yeah, as great as it would be to see some sort of progress made, it’s hard to trust the North Koreans based on previous clandestine actions. Something has got to give. Maybe they recognise the weak position of the Trump administration and the declining strength of America globally; strike while the iron is hot.

    1. Hi Ben. It all depends on how sincere the North Koreans are. If they are playing straight, we could see this nuclear issue settled once and for all, a new era of North-South Korea relations and stability returns to Northeast Asia. If they’re not sincere, then this is all a ruse similar to 1994 and the Agreed Framework. Time will tell. I personally don’t think Kim is sincere but am hoping to be proven wrong.

      1. Exactly. If Kim isn’t sincere it will become apparent fairly soon. I’m with you, they’re close to that ICBM and buying just a little more time might be all they need. Scary.

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