Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

North Korea: Surprising Retreat From Nuclear Programs

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North Korea: Surprising  Retreat From Nuclear Programs

Recently, the North Korean leader Kim Jon Un has showed unpredictable flexibility pertaining to his nuclear program and crucial willingness for a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. North Korea has faced years of economic sanctions over its nuclear and missile programs since it conducted its first nuclear test in 2006. Since then, North Korea has tested dozens of missiles of various types in the past two years, including one launch of its largest-ever intercontinental ballistic missile, which is theoretically capable of hitting anywhere in the United States, on Nov. 29. The United States has struggled to prevent the isolated country’s weapons programs, which have become a security priority for Washington given Pyongyang’s promise to develop a nuclear-tipped missile capable of hitting the U.S. mainland.
The Americans concluded that international sanctions had brought North Korea to its knees, leaving Kim desperate to conclude a deal on US terms. Lately, the Vice President Mike Pence warned that if North Korea did not make a deal, it would indeed meet with Iraq and Libya’s fate but the Vice Foreign Minister Kim Kye-gwan delivered the North’s furious response: “We do not hide our feeling of repugnance toward him.” The North Korea was not interested in a dialogue aimed at a coerced “unilateral nuclear abandonment.” The “world knows too well that our country is neither Libya nor Iraq, which have met miserable fates.”
Accordingly, Mr. Trump abruptly canceled his summit, scheduled for June 12 in Singapore, with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un, blaming “tremendous anger and open hostility” from the North Korea. It seems that two sides mirrored each other’s misperception of the main motivation for the summit. Both thought the other had agreed to meet because of weakness and had made major concessions. Kim believed that his nuclear strength had forced Trump to the summit without preconditions, making him Trump’s equal as a head of state. He could afford to explore possible avenues for a peace regime, he thought, because North Korea’s nuclear sword provided immunity from US attacks. Following these ups and downs, Moon and Kim agreed at a surprise meeting on Saturday that the possible North Korea-US summit must be held, Moon told a news conference in Seoul. ‘Chairman Kim and I have agreed that the June 12 summit should be held successfully, and that our quest for the Korean peninsula’s denuclearization and a perpetual peace regime should not be halted,’ Moon said. Mr Kim “again made clear his commitment to a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” and told the South Korean leader that he is willing to cooperate. Thus, Mr Moon said he told Mr Kim that Mr Trump has a “firm resolve” to end hostile relations with North Korea and initiate economic cooperation if Kim implements “complete denuclearization”.
“What Kim is unclear about is that he has concerns about whether his country can surely trust the United States over its promise to end hostile relations (with North Korea) and provide a security guarantee if they do denuclearization,” Mr Moon said. Considering the recent US withdrawal from global deal with Iran, it is not easy for North Korea to come down from the horse of dilemma. However, “During the South Korea-US summit, President Trump repeated that the US is willing to clearly put an end to hostile relations (between the US and North Korea) and help (the North) achieve economic prosperity if North Korea conducts denuclearization.”
On the other hand, American officials are too skeptical that Kim will ever fully abandon his nuclear arsenal. Moon said North Korea was not convinced it could trust security guarantees from the United States. “However, during the U.S.-South Korea summit, President Trump clearly emphasized that we may see not only the end of hostile relations but also economic cooperation if North Korea denuclearizes,” Moon said.  Moon met Trump in Washington on last Tuesday in an effort to keep the U.S.-North Korea summit on track. 
Bye and large, no one is sure what might be the outcome of the dramatic retreat. However, Kim Jon Un has showed a sort of urgency for holding the summit and therefore, he showed great willingness to improve (North Korea)-US relations and establish (a) mechanism for permanent and durable peace.” Mr Moon said North Korea and the United States will soon start working-level talks to prepare for the Kim-Trump summit. He said he expects the talks to go smoothly because Pyongyang and Washington both know what they want from each other. Mr Kim, in a telling line from a dispatch issued by the North’s state-run news service earlier on Sunday, “expressed his fixed will on the historic (North Korea)-US summit talks.”
Meanwhile, The Korean leaders agreed to have their top officials meet again on June 1. Mr Moon said military generals and Red Cross officials from the Koreas will also meet separately to discuss how to ease military tensions and resume reunions of families separated by the 1950-53 Korean War. South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in speaks during a news conference at the presidential Blue House in Seoul on Sunday.
Eventually, it is also agreed by the U.S. to prepare for the proposed summit by the North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, which Trump pulled out of last week; Washington sent a team to pave the way the meeting. “I truly believe North Korea has brilliant potential and will be a great economic and financial Nation one day. Kim Jong Un agrees with me on this. It will happen!” Trump added.

Mohammad Zahir Akbari is the permanent writer of the Daily Outlook Afghanistan. He can be reached at mohammadzahirakbari@gmail.com

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