'A lot of reasons for optimism' on North Korea talks: Mattis

24 April, 2018, 10:46 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
  • No more K-Pop: South Korea switches off propaganda to North ahead of summit

The world is wondering how much their talks will deal with North Korea's program for developing nuclear-armed missiles.

"North Korea has agreed to suspend all Nuclear Tests and close up a major test site", Trump tweeted Friday evening.

But the president later tempered expectations and said, "We are a long way from conclusion on North Korea". But the announcement did not say whether it would give up its nuclear weapons or stop production of missiles.

"North Korea's decision to freeze its nuclear programme is a significant decision for the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula", South Korean President Moon Jae-in said in a regular meeting at the Blue House on Monday. It would also raise fears of conflict across the Korean peninsula.

Trump, who would become the first serving US president to meet a North Korean leader, appeared to temper his initial enthusiasm over the test freeze by saying on Sunday that the North Korean nuclear crisis was a long way from being resolved.

North Korea has for decades pushed a concept of "denuclearisation" that bears little resemblance to the American definition.

In the past, I have written about why the US needs to keep the military option on the table in dealing with the rogue regime in North Korea.

One thing must be made clear: the North Korean leadership inhabits a parallel world of Stalinist semi-lunacy.

Customs data on Monday showed China's imports from North Korea fell sharply in the first three months of the year, and exports also dropped, compared with a year earlier.

Go Myong-Hyun is with the Seoul-based Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

Delving into the issue at this stage may be risky as the move could just end up highlighting the differences between the United States and North Korea over their approach to the denuclearization issue. Recently, representatives of both Koreas marched together at the PyeongChang Winter Olympics and South Korean pop stars performed in Pyongyang.

But that still doesn't address a North Korean arsenal that now includes purported thermonuclear warheads and developmental ICBMs developed during a decadeslong cycle of crises, stalemates and broken promises. The elder Kim saidNorth Korea would be amenable to USA troops staying "as a peacekeeping force in Korea, instead of a hostile force against the North". It claims the exercises are preparing those forces to invade the North.

A country giving up its nuclear weapons is rare, but not unheard of.

China is North Korea's most important economic and diplomatic backer, despite Beijing's anger at Pyongyang's repeated nuclear and missile tests and support for strong United Nations sanctions against North Korea.

Nonetheless, artillery remains far more localized than ballistic missiles, and can be neutralized by air, missiles, other artillery, or more.

Trump and Kim are expected to meet face to face at a location that has yet to be determined.

During the two summits, Kim may demand a security guarantee for his government, the scrapping of what he calls US hostility and the easing or lifting of worldwide sanctions on the North.

The United States wants North Korea to achieve a "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization" and has maintained the view that it will continue to apply maximum sanctions pressure on Pyongyang toward that end.

Kazianis cautioned Kim could quickly ramp up again if he does not get what he wants from the upcoming summits, urging the global community to be "hopeful - but not stupid". With this valuable joint experience, if we are going to rebuild cooperation between Washington and Moscow, North Korea is a good place to start.

The administration indicates that CIA Director Mike Pompeo, who is also nominated to be secretary of state, has been focused on the release of these individuals.



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