Korean denuclearization requires ‘corresponding measures’: analysts
▶ Synchronized actions from NK, US key to facilitate process
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at the Liaoning Academy of Social Sciences, adding it is unlikely that all of the US troops in South Korea could be withdrawn in a short time.
“It depends on the US rather than South Korea to decide whether the US troops will be withdrawn,” Lü noted, saying the US troop withdrawal will only happen if the Koreas pen a peace deal.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.