Korean de­nu­cle­ariza­tion re­quires ‘cor­re­spond­ing mea­sures’: an­a­lysts

▶ Syn­chro­nized ac­tions from NK, US key to fa­cil­i­tate process

Global Times - - WORLD - By Lu We­nao

The de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the Korean Penin­sula should be in syn­chro­niza­tion with a re­duc­tion in US mil­i­tary pres­ence in South Korea, an­a­lysts said while call­ing for cor­re­spond­ing mea­sures to fa­cil­i­tate the progress.

North Korea has started dis­man­tling its nu­clear fa­cil­i­ties since North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump penned an agree­ment on de­nu­cle­ariza­tion in June last year.

The vaguely worded agree­ment has led to a stale­mate in de­nu­cle­ariza­tion talks lately, as the US in­sists that Py­ongyang needs to do more be­fore it eases sanc­tions.

Kim urged that “joint mil­i­tary ex­er­cises with for­eign forces, which con­sti­tute the source of ag­gra­vat­ing the sit­u­a­tion on the Korean Penin­sula, should no longer be per­mit­ted,” North Korean state-run news agency KCNA re­ported last week.

He also said “the in­tro­duc­tion of war equip­ment in­clud­ing strate­gic as­sets from out­side should com­pletely be sus­pended.”

But South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in said in his New Year speech on Thurs­day that “de­nu­cle­ariza­tion and the is­sue of end­ing the [1950-53 Korean] War has noth­ing to do with the sta­tus of US troops in South Korea.”

“South Korea needs the US forces to bal­ance the mil­i­tary pres­ence of North Korea,” said Lü Chao, a re­search fel­low at the Liaon­ing Academy of So­cial Sciences, adding it is un­likely that all of the US troops in South Korea could be with­drawn in a short time.

“It de­pends on the US rather than South Korea to de­cide whether the US troops will be with­drawn,” Lü noted, say­ing the US troop with­drawal will only hap­pen if the Koreas pen a peace deal.

The two Koreas re­main tech­ni­cally at war de­spite the sign­ing of 1953 Korean Ar­mistice Agree­ment.

Last year, Pres­i­dent Trump threat­ened to with­draw troops from Sorth Korea, but Lü be­lieves it was a way to urge Seoul to pay the mil­i­tary ex­penses rather than a gen­uine de­sire to re­call the US forces on the penin­sula.

Li Kaisheng, a re­search fel­low at the Shang­hai Academy of So­cial Sciences, said North Korea’s right to de­velop civil­ianuse nu­clear fa­cil­i­ties, such as nu­clear power plant, should be con­tained in­stead of re­moved in the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion process.

“The next Kim-Trump sum­mit should nar­row down the stip­u­la­tions over the ‘de­nu­cle­ariza­tion,’” Li told the Global Times on Thurs­day, say­ing only syn­chro­nized ac­tions will speed up progress on the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion.

Af­ter the North Korean leader’s re­cent trip to Bei­jing this week, Moon said he be­lieves a sec­ond Trump-Kim sum­mit is “im­mi­nent,” adding that China’s role in co­or­di­nat­ing the talks has helped the peace process.

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