Sanctions On North Korea To Stay, Too Early To Be Optimistic: Seoul

Patrice Gainsbourg
Março 8, 2018

The timing of the announcement is seemingly at odds with Donald Trump's reaction to the North's offer to begin denuclearisation talks, with the president tweeting: "Possible progress being made in talks with North Korea".

Moon invited party leaders to the presidential office in Seoul on Wednesday.

The Pentagon nevertheless said it was "cautiously optimistic" about the North-South talks, which resumed in January for the first time in two years.

Kim noted to the South Koreans that were it not for fear of an attack, he wouldn't have any use for the nuclear program in the first place, according to Abraham M. Denmark, director of the Asia Program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars. "May be false hope, but the U.S.is ready to go hard in either direction!"

He also said that the offer appeared to be "sincere", adding, "We'll soon find out".

But relations between the US and North Korea remain fragile with deep mistrust on both sides.

"All options are on the table, and our posture toward the regime will not change until we see credible, verifiable and concrete steps toward denuclearization", Pence said.

North and South next month will have the first meeting between their leaders since 2007 at the border village of Panmunjom, Chung Eui-yong, head of the South Korean delegation, said on Tuesday.

The latest sanctions against the secretive regime took effect on March 5, following the US's finding in February that Pyongyang was behind Kim Jong-nam's assassination.

The United States has determined North Korea used a banned chemical weapon to assassinate the half brother of leader Kim Jong-un in Malaysia last year, with the claim coming just hours after Pyongyang signalled it was willing to give up its nuclear weapons.

Trump said Kim's apparent willingness to negotiate is likely due to the sanctions, and China's role in applying them.

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North Korea hasn't announced the summit agreement in its own media, more than a half-day after the South's announcement.

My advice to the Trump administration: take your victory lap while you can, because the North Korean crisis is far from over.

Speaking to Sputnik Radio's Loud & Clear, Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network, and Tim Shorrock, a Washington-based investigative journalist and author of "Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Outsourced Intelligence", discussed the recent breakthrough on the Korean Peninsula.

Chinese state-run tabloid the Global Times published an editorial saying the Korean nuclear issue cannot be solved without China, Russia and the UN Security Council.

The North repeatedly and bluntly declared it will not give up its nuclear bombs.

"The presence of ice melt on the river supports the conclusion that the reactor is indeed operating and that the outfall pipeline has been extended", it said.

South Korean officials who met the North Korean leader, including Chung, will depart for Washington on Thursday.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said it was "extremely important" that North Korea show its commitment and concrete actions toward abandonment of its nuclear missile development in a complete, verifiable and irreversible way.

Turning that desperation into a meaningful resolution will be no easy feat, however, and even if an agreement is reached, North Korea's record of noncompliance is galling.

The two treaty allies have not seen eye-to-eye, with the more dovish government of President Moon Jae-in favoring carrot over Washington's stick.

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