NKorea sanc­tions to re­main un­til full de­nu­cle­ariza­tion

The state­ment pro­vides no de­tails on when Kim would sur­ren­der his nu­clear arse­nal

The Daily Star (Lebanon) - - WORLD -

SEOUL/BEI­JING: Tough sanc­tions will re­main on North Korea un­til its com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion, the U.S. sec­re­tary of state said Thurs­day, ap­par­ently con­tra­dict­ing the North’s view that the process agreed at this week’s sum­mit would be phased and re­cip­ro­cal.

U.S. 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 de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the Korean penin­sula,” while Trump “com­mit­ted to pro­vide se­cu­rity guar­an­tees.”

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

“Pres­i­dent Trump has been in­cred­i­bly clear about the se­quenc­ing of de­nu­cle­ariza­tion 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 de­nu­cle­ariza­tion; only then will there be re­lief from the sanc­tions,” he said.

North Korean state me­dia re­ported Wed­nes­day that Kim and Trump had rec­og­nized the prin­ci­ple of “stepby-step and si­mul­ta­ne­ous ac­tion” to achieve peace and de­nu­cle­ariza­tion on the Korean penin­sula.

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

Skep­tics of how much the meet­ing achieved pointed to the North Korean lead­er­ship’s long-held view that nu­clear weapons are a bul­wark against what it fears are U.S. 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 later told Pom­peo.

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 U.N. sanc­tions on North Korea af­ter its “com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion,” Pom­peo said.

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

Also 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.”

Speak­ing later in the day in Bei­jing, Pom­peo said China, Ja­pan and South Korea all ac­knowl­edged a cor­ner had been turned on the Korean penin­sula is­sue, but that all three had also ac­knowl­edged sanc­tions re­main in place un­til de­nu­cle­ariza­tion is com­plete.

“China has reaf­firmed its com­mit­ment to hon­or­ing the U.N. Se­cu­rity Coun­cil res­o­lu­tions. Those have mech­a­nisms for re­lief con­tained in them, and we agreed that at the ap­pro­pri­ate time that those would be con­sid­ered,” Pom­peo said, stand­ing next to the Chi­nese govern­ment’s top diplo­mat, State Coun­cilor Wang Yi.

“But we have made very clear that the sanc­tions and the eco­nomic re­lief that North Korea will re­ceive will only hap­pen af­ter the full de­nu­cle­ariza­tion, the com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of North Korea.”

Wang said China had con­sis­tently sup­ported the de­nu­cle­ariza­tion of the Korean penin­sula but that it was some­what im­pos­si­ble to fully solve the is­sue overnight.

“At the same time, we be­lieve North Korea’s rea­son­able se­cu­rity con­cerns should be re­solved.”

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

“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.

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

U.S. of­fi­cials said it was un­clear what types of train­ing in­volv­ing U.S. and South Korean troops might cross into Trump’s now for­bid­den zone of “war games.”

But big, joint U.S.-South Korean ex­er­cises ap­peared off-lim­its un­der the new guid­ance. –

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