May 25, 2019

Trump: North Korea seems 'sincere' about ending nuke tests

10 Marcha 2018, 06:58 | Bibiana Flor

Kim Jong-un shakes hands with South Korean National Security Director Chung Eui-yong More

Kim Jong-un shakes hands with South Korean National Security Director Chung Eui-yong More

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un salutes during a visit to the Ministry of the People's Armed Forces on the occasion of the new year, in this undated photo released by North Korea's Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on January 10, 2016. The South Korean officials are on a mission to broker denuclearization talks between the North and the United States.

"We proceed from the fact that the sanctions imposed by the UN Security Council, in particular, on North Korea, are legitimate", the diplomat said.

According to senior South Korean official Chung Eui-yong, who returned Tuesday from a rare two-day trip to North Korea's capital, where he met with leader Kim Jong Un, the North said it's committed to the "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" and that it has no reason to possess nuclear weapons as long as military threats against the country are removed and its security is guaranteed.

North Korea's reported willingness to hold a "candid dialogue" with the United States to discuss denuclearization and establish diplomatic relations follows a year of increased fears of war on the Korean Peninsula, with Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump exchanging fiery rhetoric and crude insults over Kim's barrage of weapons tests.

Chung told reporters he had an additional, undisclosed message from the North for the U.S.

"What traditionally comes next is that they move up a ladder of escalating demands without offering significant or irreversible commitments or concessions, and finally, when they hit the limit and the United States or South Koreans put their foot down, that becomes the pretext to revert to the cycle of provocations".

Moon made the comments in response to comments by Hong Jun-pyo, chairman of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party (LKP), who expressed his concerns that Seoul would settle for a nuclear freeze and tentative suspension of ballistic missile launches.

Trump had earlier welcomed progress in inter-Korean talks on his Twitter page. Daryl Kimball, executive director of the U.S. -based Arms Control Association, urged the Trump administration and Congress to support "this important diplomatic opening". The provoking nation invites the world's ire and subsequent sanctions, only to then signal a desire to negotiate and willingness to change its provocative ways.

The South Korean delegates have another meeting with North Korean officials on Tuesday before returning home, but it is unclear if Kim will be there.

"The two previous summits held in 2000 and 2007 took place in Pyongyang, but the upcoming one will take place in Panmunjom on the South Korean side of the border, which symbolizes the division of the two Koreas", Chung said.

SHAPIRO: What do you think brought North Korea to the table?

"It could be possible that we can reach a deal to achieve complete nuclear dismantlement through various roadmaps", he said.

The US has long insisted that Pyongyang take concrete steps towards denuclearisation as a precondition.

Meanwhile, despite the peace engagement, US has announced new, unspecified sanctions against Pyongyang for allegedly 'using a chemical weapon to assassinate' Kim Jong-Nam, the half-brother of North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, in February 2017. It also hates the annual U.S. -South Korean military exercises that were postponed because of the Olympics but will likely happen later this spring. If Pyongyang overreacts to these maneuvers, that tells us something.

But make no mistake, these talks represent a new chapter in the ongoing saga between the the United States and the North.

"Talking by itself is not so dangerous", he said.

US officials privately admit that a "bloody nose" strike mooted to chasten Kim away from nukes or ballistic missile tests was never under serious consideration.

The next test for this tentative detente will be whether the US and South Korea continue will plans to hold a large military drill after the Paralympics finish on March 18.

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