Po­lit­i­cal par­ties clash over ‘op­ti­mism’ in NK-US talks

The Korea Times - - NATIONAL - By Kim Yoo-chul, Park Ji-won yckim, jw­[email protected]­re­atimes.co.kr

Korea’s po­lit­i­cal par­ties clashed (KST) in New York, Fri­day, over the prospects for the planned work­ing-level de­nu­cle­ariza­tion talks be­tween the United States and North Korea dur­ing a Na­tional Assem­bly au­dit of the Per­ma­nent Mis­sion of the Repub­lic of Korea to the United Na­tions, be­ing held there.

The au­dit came a few hours after a North Korean del­e­ga­tion ar­rived in Stock­holm, Swe­den, Oct. 4, for the talks with the U.S., after months of dead­lock and in­creased ten­sions mostly due to a se­ries of mis­sile tests by Py­ongyang.

Dur­ing the au­dit, law­mak­ers of the rul­ing Demo­cratic Party of Korea (DPK) re­mained op­ti­mistic over the talks, urg­ing Wash­ing­ton to ease sanc­tions. The op­po­si­tion par­ties, how­ever, ex­pressed con­cern about the re­cent mis­sile launches, say­ing they un­der­scored the need for the U.S. to move quickly to ne­go­ti­ate lim­its to the North’s grow­ing arse­nal.

“Be­cause both the United States and North Korea will pur­sue a new method at the talks, ex­pec­ta­tions are that they will bring about a vis­i­ble out­come. A com­plete clo­sure of the Yong­byon nu­clear com­plex in North Korea would be good enough from our per­spec­tive,” said Rep. Lee Seokhyun of the DPK.

Rep. Choo Mi-ae, also of the DPK, said she be­lieved Wash­ing­ton and Py­ongyang ac­knowl­edged that main­tain­ing sanc­tions wasn’t pre­ferred in terms of break­ing the im­passe. “Sanc­tions can cre­ate a hu­man­i­tar­ian cri­sis in North Korea,” she said. But Rep. Chung Jin-suk of the main op­po­si­tion Lib­erty Korea Party (LKP) said South Korea should speak up at the United Na­tions over the North’s re­cent test of a sub­ma­rine-launched bal­lis­tic mis­sile be­cause this vi­o­lated the in­ter­na­tional body’s sanc­tions.

“I hope the up­com­ing work­ing-level talks be­tween the United States and North Korea pro­duce good re­sults, but South Korea is ad­vised to pre­pare a plan B to deal with a fail­ure of the talks in Stock­holm,” the LKP’s Rep. Won Yoo-chul said.

How to de­fine de­nu­cle­ariza­tion and whether North Korea ac­cepts the United States’ “un­of­fi­cial” of­fer for a par­tial eas­ing of eco­nomic sanc­tions will be the main talk­ing points be­tween the nu­clear ne­go­tia­tors in Stock­holm.

North Korea’s con­cept of de­nu­cle­ariza­tion, made clear through years of failed dis­cus­sions with the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity, “bears no re­sem­blance to the U.S.’ def­i­ni­tion,” ac­cord­ing to an anony­mous diplo­matic source. Py­ongyang prefers to launch lengthy, com­pli­cated ne­go­ti­a­tions to get agree­ment on phased ac­tions each party must take. The United States, on the other hand, wants the North to present a de­tailed de­nu­cle­ariza­tion plan in­clud­ing a roadmap to com­pletely freeze pro­duc­tion of fis­sile ma­te­rial for use in nu­clear weapons.

Diplo­matic sources here said North Korea is ex­pected to seek a for­mal dec­la­ra­tion end­ing the Korean War to re­place the 1953 armistice.


North Korean del­e­gates for work­ing-level de­nu­cle­ariza­tion talks with the United States leave their em­bassy in Stock­holm for pre­lim­i­nary con­tact with the U.S. ne­go­tia­tors, Fri­day (KST).

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