[ED] Fate of nuclear talks

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[ED] Fate of nuclear talks

North Korea reconsidering negotiations with US

U.S.-North Korea denuclearization talks stand at a crossroads after Pyongyang said Friday that it is considering suspending negotiations with Washington. It is still too early to tell if the North actually wants to opt out of dialogue or not. But the tone of what the country said appears to bode ill, not well, for the prospects of the North's denuclearization.


News agencies such as the Associated Press and Russia's TASS quoted Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui as saying in Pyongyang that Kim Jong-un would decide soon whether to continue diplomatic talks and keep the country's moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests. This report struck a negative tone rather than a positive one.

If Kim announces he will pull out of talks with Washington, this will certainly derail efforts by U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in to find a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear standoff. In a similar vein, Kim's peace offensive since the start of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics may risk going up in smoke.

Yet we have to figure out what the real intention of the Kim regime is now. After failing to reach any agreement with Trump in the second summit in Hanoi on Feb. 27 and 28, Kim may try to blame the U.S. for the failure of the talks. In fact, the two leaders returned home empty-handed because they were unable to narrow their differences over a denuclearization formula and sanctions relief for the North.

Kim's frustration and disappointment at the breakdown of the talks were evident in what Choe told diplomats and journalists in the North Korean capital. Saying the North was deeply disappointed by the summit failure, she clarified Pyongyang now has no intention of compromising or continuing talks if the U.S. refuses to take corresponding steps after the North's 15-month moratorium on nuclear and missile testing.

Choe has also expressed strong dissatisfaction with the U.S. refusal at the Hanoi summit to lift many of the U.N. sanctions. She made it clear that the North has no intention of budging an inch unless the Trump administration changes its negotiation strategy.

Some experts at home and abroad say the Kim regime is trying to put pressure on the U.S. to accept the North's simultaneous and phased denuclearization so the North can get maximum rewards for every step it takes. However, the Trump administration wants a package deal, under which the North dismantles not only the Yongbyon nuclear complex but also its plutonium and uranium enrichment facilities and long-range missiles.

Furthermore, the U.S. has returned to its hard-line position that sanctions will remain firmly in place until a complete denuclearization of the North. This strong stance has been boosted by hawkish officials such as National Security Adviser John Bolton. Against this backdrop, the Kim regime is likely to play hardball and threaten to stop talks with the U.S.

If the two sides refuse to compromise, nuclear talks will eventually collapse. If this happens, both Kim and Trump will become losers. And "fire and fury" will prevail over the Korean Peninsula again. No one can rule of the possibility of Kim returning to brinkmanship tactics by resuming nuclear or missile tests.

We urge both North Korea and the U.S. to refrain from any reckless behavior. Nothing is more important than to keep the momentum for talks to solve the issue through dialogue and compromise.






North Korea reconsidering negotiations with US

U.S.-North Korea denuclearization talks stand at a crossroads after Pyongyang said Friday that it is considering suspending negotiations with Washington. It is still too early to tell if the North actually wants to opt out of dialogue or not. But the tone of what the country said appears to bode ill, not well, for the prospects of the North's denuclearization.


News agencies such as the Associated Press and Russia's TASS quoted Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui as saying in Pyongyang that Kim Jong-un would decide soon whether to continue diplomatic talks and keep the country's moratorium on missile launches and nuclear tests. This report struck a negative tone rather than a positive one.

If Kim announces he will pull out of talks with Washington, this will certainly derail efforts by U.S. President Donald Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in to find a diplomatic solution to the North Korean nuclear standoff. In a similar vein, Kim's peace offensive since the start of the 2018 PyeongChang Winter Olympics may risk going up in smoke.

Yet we have to figure out what the real intention of the Kim regime is now. After failing to reach any agreement with Trump in the second summit in Hanoi on Feb. 27 and 28, Kim may try to blame the U.S. for the failure of the talks. In fact, the two leaders returned home empty-handed because they were unable to narrow their differences over a denuclearization formula and sanctions relief for the North.

Kim's frustration and disappointment at the breakdown of the talks were evident in what Choe told diplomats and journalists in the North Korean capital. Saying the North was deeply disappointed by the summit failure, she clarified Pyongyang now has no intention of compromising or continuing talks if the U.S. refuses to take corresponding steps after the North's 15-month moratorium on nuclear and missile testing.

Choe has also expressed strong dissatisfaction with the U.S. refusal at the Hanoi summit to lift many of the U.N. sanctions. She made it clear that the North has no intention of budging an inch unless the Trump administration changes its negotiation strategy.

Some experts at home and abroad say the Kim regime is trying to put pressure on the U.S. to accept the North's simultaneous and phased denuclearization so the North can get maximum rewards for every step it takes. However, the Trump administration wants a package deal, under which the North dismantles not only the Yongbyon nuclear complex but also its plutonium and uranium enrichment facilities and long-range missiles.

Furthermore, the U.S. has returned to its hard-line position that sanctions will remain firmly in place until a complete denuclearization of the North. This strong stance has been boosted by hawkish officials such as National Security Adviser John Bolton. Against this backdrop, the Kim regime is likely to play hardball and threaten to stop talks with the U.S.

If the two sides refuse to compromise, nuclear talks will eventually collapse. If this happens, both Kim and Trump will become losers. And "fire and fury" will prevail over the Korean Peninsula again. No one can rule of the possibility of Kim returning to brinkmanship tactics by resuming nuclear or missile tests.

We urge both North Korea and the U.S. to refrain from any reckless behavior. Nothing is more important than to keep the momentum for talks to solve the issue through dialogue and compromise.








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