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

Patrice Gainsbourg
Março 9, 2018

On returning from Pyongyang, Chung Eui-yong, South Korea's presidential national security director, said North Korea expressed willingness to hold a "candid dialogue" with the United States to discuss its nuclear disarmament and establish diplomatic relations. The Trump administration also pushed through some of the harshest sanctions any country has ever faced.

"The Trump administration deserves credit for increasing the pressure and deepening even further the alienation between China and North Korea", says Professor John Delury, an East Asia expert at Yonsei Univeristy in Seoul.

He, however, declined to comment on whether he had any preconditions for dialogue.

While the offer of talks could ease tensions, the adversaries will still have to overcome deep mutual suspicion.

U.S. officials see the development as a two-edged sword, warning last month that PESCO must not be allowed to duplicate or undermine NATO.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert warned that the killing of Kim Jong-nam made it clear that the "reckless" regime cannot be allowed to pursue a weapons programme. "But we'll see what happens".

U.S. President Donald Trump said North Korea seemed "sincere".

This is important as North Korean embassies abroad operate as revenue-generating hubs for myriad illicit activities.

Coats and other intelligence officials at the hearing said they had seen no evidence of a turnaround in North Korean behavior. Soon it obtains sanctions relief, only to later renege on its promised changes while leveling blame on the other negotiating parties for supposedly failing to uphold their end of the bargain.

"It is something that is kind of unprecedented in coming forth and saying under some conditions he would follow the denuclearization", he said. Reports of a sudden depreciation of North Korean currency to the Euro will also hamper Kim keeping the North Korean elites satisfied.

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Moon said on Wednesday he had suggested to the North a rough roadmap progressing from a nuclear freeze to denuclearization, an opposition party chair told reporters after meeting with him.

The U.S. will need to be cautious, hold the line and not fall for the same old dangling-carrot trick the North Korean regime has played time and again.

"The United States has maintained that the term 'denuclearization' is needed for talks and it appears the North has responded to that", he said. The United States has repeatedly said that if maximum pressure doesn't work, it would take military actions against North Korea.

Chung led a 10-member South Korean delegation on a two-day visit to North Korea. In October, thousands of bottles of bootlegged whisky, beer and wine were stolen from a North Korean diplomat's home in the Pakistani capital Islamabad. It has also made enormous human and financial sacrifices to build its arsenal and accused the U.S. of failing to uphold prior agreements.

U.S. and South Korean commanders insist the drills are defensive in nature and necessary to maintain readiness.

The new restrictions are mainly on "new or used vessels", food and farm products, electrical equipment and wood, the government said in the statement.

"Caution, we've been here so many times before", said James Hoare, a British diplomat and historian who opened the U.K.'s first embassy in Pyongyang in 2001. But a planned encounter with Kim's sister was scrapped by North Korea.

Pyongyang has since continued its weapons drive, accelerating it after Kim inherited power in 2011 from his father Kim Jong Il. It could also be "false hope", the American leader said. France is leading the effort, and on Monday Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian was in Tehran, attempting to persuade the Iranians to accept new restrictions on their ballistic missile program.

Diplomacy would seem a better option, but Trump has made clear that unlike his predecessors, he will not let the situation "fester".

Information for this article was contributed by Anna Fifield, Philip Rucker, Karen DeYoung and Brian Murphy of The Washington Post; by Robert Burns, Hyung-jin Kim, Darlene Superville and Matthew Pennington of The Associated Press; and by Rick Gladstone of The New York Times.

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