‘North’s sanc­tions stay un­till de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion’

Abe seeks sum­mit with Kim

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

SEOUL, June 14, (Agen­cies): Tough sanc­tions will re­main on North Korea un­til its com­plete de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion, the US sec­re­tary of state said on Thurs­day, ap­par­ently con­tra­dict­ing the North’s view that the process agreed at this week’s sum­mit would be phased and re­cip­ro­cal.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is­sued a joint state­ment af­ter their Sin­ga­pore meet­ing that reaf­firmed the North’s com­mit­ment to “work to­ward com­plete de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion of the Korean Penin­sula”, while Trump “com­mit­ted to pro­vide se­cu­rity guar­an­tees”.

Trump later told a news con­fer­ence he would end joint US-South Korean mil­i­tary ex­er­cises.

“Pres­i­dent Trump has been in­cred­i­bly clear about the se­quenc­ing of de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion and re­lief from the sanc­tions,” Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo told re­porters af­ter meet­ing South Korea’s pres­i­dent and Ja­pan’s for­eign min­is­ter in Seoul.

“We are go­ing to get com­plete de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion; only then will there be re­lief from the sanc­tions,” he said.

North Korean state me­dia re­ported on Wed­nes­day Kim and Trump had recog­nised the prin­ci­ple of “step-by-step and si­mul­ta­ne­ous ac­tion” to achieve peace and de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion on the Korean penin­sula.

The sum­mit state­ment pro­vided no de­tails on when North Korea would give up its nu­clear weapons pro­gramme or how the dis­man­tling might be ver­i­fied.

Scep­tics of how much the meet­ing achieved pointed to the North Korean lead­er­ship’s longheld view that nu­clear weapons are a bul­wark against what it fears are US plans to over­throw it and unite the Korean penin­sula.

How­ever, South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-In said the world, through the sum­mit, had es­caped the threat of war, echo­ing Trump’s up­beat assess­ment of his meet­ing with Kim.

“What’s most im­por­tant was that the peo­ple of the world, in­clud­ing those in the United States, Ja­pan and Kore­ans, have all been able to es­cape the threat of war, nu­clear weapons and mis­siles,” Moon told Pom­peo.

Pom­peo

Com­mit­ted

Pom­peo in­sisted North Korea was com­mit­ted to giv­ing up its nu­clear arse­nal but said it would “be a process, not an easy one”.

Kim un­der­stood get­ting rid of his nu­clear arse­nal needed to be done quickly and there would only be re­lief from strin­gent UN sanc­tions on North Korea af­ter its “com­plete de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion”, Pom­peo said.

Moon later said South Korea would be flex­i­ble when it comes to mil­i­tary pres­sure on North Korea if it is sin­cere about de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion.

Also on Thurs­day, North and South Korea held their first mil­i­tary talks in more than a decade. The talks fol­lowed on from an in­ter-Korean sum­mit in April at which Moon and Kim agreed to defuse ten­sion and cease “hos­tile acts”.

The United States has long in­sisted on com­plete, ver­i­fi­able and ir­re­versible de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion by North Korea.

But the sum­mit state­ment ref­er­ence to North Korea com­mit­ting to work to­wards the com­plete de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion of the penin­sula has used been by North Korea in the past to in­clude a US nu­clear um­brella in the re­gion, and echoes prom­ises it has failed to keep.

Trump re­turned to the United States on Wed­nes­day and took to Twit­ter to hail the meet­ing, the first be­tween a sit­ting US pres­i­dent and a North Korean leader, as a ma­jor win for Amer­i­can se­cu­rity.

“Ev­ery­body can now feel much safer than the day I took of­fice,” Trump tweeted. “There is no longer a nu­clear threat from North Korea.”

Demo­cratic crit­ics in the United States said the agree­ment was short on de­tail and the Repub­li­can pres­i­dent had made too many con­ces­sions to Kim, whose coun­try is un­der UN sanc­tions for its nu­clear and weapons pro­grammes and is widely con­demned for hu­man rights abuses.

Pom­peo said Trump’s com­ments about the re­duced threat from North Korea were made “with eyes wide open”.

Con­di­tions

“It could be the case that our ef­fort won’t ... work but we are de­ter­mined to set the con­di­tions so that we can right this fail­ure of decades and re­set the con­di­tions for North Korea’s par­tic­i­pa­tion in the com­mu­nity of na­tions,” Pom­peo said af­ter a tri­lat­eral meet­ing with South Korean For­eign Min­is­ter Kang Kyung-wha and Ja­panese For­eign Min­is­ter Taro Kono.

Ja­pan has re­acted to Trump’s plan to can­cel mil­i­tary ex­er­cises with South Korea with con­cern, say­ing the drills are vi­tal for East Asian se­cu­rity.

Two North Korean mis­siles flew over Ja­pan last year as North Korea made rapid ad­vances in de­vel­op­ing a mis­sile ca­pa­ble of strik­ing the US main­land with a nu­clear war­head.

Tokyo is work­ing on ar­rang­ing a meet­ing be­tween Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe and Kim, with one pos­si­bil­ity be­ing an Abe visit to Py­ongyang around Au­gust, the Yomi­uri news­pa­per re­ported.

A Ja­panese gov­ern­ment source fa­mil­iar with the mat­ter told Reuters of­fi­cials aimed to dis­cuss a sum­mit with North Korean of­fi­cials at a re­gional se­cu­rity con­fer­ence in Mon­go­lia on Thurs­day and Fri­day.

Kang said South Korea and the United States shared the same goals and ap­proach to achiev­ing de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion.

“The is­sue of South Korea-US joint ex­er­cises is one that should be dis­cussed,” Kang said. “But the is­sues of the al­liance should be dealt with un­der the premise we main­tain joint iron­clad de­fence pos­ture.”

The US in­tel­li­gence assess­ment of the nu­clear and other mil­i­tary threat posed by North Korea to US and al­lied forces re­mained un­changed de­spite Trump and Moon’s as­ser­tions about the North Korean nu­clear threat be­ing over, a se­nior US of­fi­cial re­spon­si­ble for study­ing the North Korean mil­i­tary said.

US of­fi­cials said it was un­clear what types of train­ing in­volv­ing US and South Korean troops might cross into Trump’s now for­bid­den zone of “war games”. But big, joint US-South Korean ex­er­cises ap­peared off-lim­its un­der the new guid­ance.

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