Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Sunday, November 17th, 2019

North Korea, emboldened by Trump Peril and Chinese Allies, Tries Harder Line

North Korea, emboldened by Trump Peril and Chinese Allies, Tries Harder Line

SEOUL - Successful sanctions evasion, economic lifelines from China and U.S. President Donald Trump’s impeachment woes may be among the factors that have emboldened North Korea in nuclear negotiations, analysts and officials say.
Both Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un continue to play up the personal rapport they say they developed during three face-to-face meetings. But North Korea has said in recent days that it is losing patience, giving the United States until the end of the year to change its negotiating stance.
North Korea has tested the limits of engagement with a string of missile launches, including two fired on Thursday, and experts warn that the lack of a concrete arms control agreement has allowed the country to continue producing nuclear weapons.
The missile tests have practical value for the North Korean military’s efforts to modernize its arsenal. But they also underscore Pyongyang’s increasingly belligerent position in the face of what it sees as an inflexible and hostile United States.
In a best-case scenario, Thursday’s launch was an attempt to make the December deadline feel more urgent to the U.S., said Andray Abrahamian, a visiting scholar with George Mason University Korea.
“Still, I think that Pyongyang has concluded they can do without a deal if they must,” he said. “The sad thing is I think that will lock in the current state of affairs, with its downsides for all stakeholders, for years to come.” (Reuters)