US threat part of de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion

Pretoria News - - WORLD -

SEOUL: North Korea’s com­mit­ment to the “de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion of the Korean penin­sula” also in­cludes “elim­i­nat­ing the US nu­clear threat to Korea”, says North Korean state me­dia.

US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is­sued a joint state­ment af­ter their his­toric meet­ing in Sin­ga­pore in June that reaf­firmed that the North would “work to­wards com­plete de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion of the Korean Penin­sula” and gave US guar­an­tees of se­cu­rity to North Korea.

Con­flict­ing or vague views of what ex­actly “de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion” means, how­ever, have com­pli­cated ne­go­ti­a­tions that now ap­pear stalled.

Yes­ter­day’s com­men­tary, re­leased by state-run KCNA news agency, is one of the clear­est ex­pla­na­tions since the June sum­mit of how Py­ongyang sees de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion. “When we re­fer to the Korean penin­sula, the term en­com­passes the area of DPRK plus South Korean ter­ri­tory where US nu­clear weapons and other forms of ag­gres­sion forces are de­ployed,” the ed­i­to­rial said, us­ing the ini­tials of North Korea’s of­fi­cial name, the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea.

“When we re­fer to the ‘de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion of the Korean Penin­sula’ as well, it should be cor­rectly un­der­stood as re­mov­ing all nu­clear threat fac­tors from not only the North and the South but from all neigh­bour­ing ar­eas.”

North Korea re­jected Amer­i­can calls for it to uni­lat­er­ally de­nu­cle­arise and Wash­ing­ton should aban­don the “delu­sion” of forc­ing Py­ongyang to aban­don its nu­clear weapons “via pres­sure and op­pres­sion”, the ar­ti­cle said.

The US has said that it will not lift sanc­tions un­til more progress has been made to­ward the ver­i­fi­able de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion of North Korea.

Wash­ing­ton has also re­jected any sug­ges­tion it would re­duce its mil­i­tary pres­ence in the re­gion as part of a deal with North Korea, but in a sur­prise move af­ter the sum­mit, Trump an­nounced the Pen­tagon would can­cel most of its largest mil­i­tary ex­er­cises with the South Kore­ans.

The def­i­ni­tion of de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion is likely to be raised again as Trump said he was work­ing to meet again with Kim some­time early next year.

“It is ob­vi­ous that de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion of the Korean Penin­sula is a joint busi­ness that can­not be achieved un­less both Korea and the United States strive to­gether,” the KCNA com­men­tary said.

“In this sense, the de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion of the Korean Penin­sula should be de­fined as ‘com­pletely elim­i­nat­ing the US nu­clear threat to Korea’ be­fore it can elim­i­nate our nu­clear de­ter­rent.”

The US de­ployed nu­clear weapons in South Korea from 1958 to 1991. Since they were with­drawn, the US has ex­tended its “nu­clear um­brella” of sup­port to Ja­pan and South Korea, us­ing bombers and sub­marines based else­where.

At a press brief­ing in Wash­ing­ton on Tues­day, US State Depart­ment spokesman Robert Pal­ladino said he would not “split words” when asked whether the prom­ise of the “de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion of the Korean penin­sula” meant only North Korea or the broader re­gion.

“We are fo­cused on the de­nu­cle­ari­sa­tion of North Korea. We re­main con­fi­dent and we look for­ward to the com­mit­ments Chair­man Kim and Pres­i­dent Trump have made.” |

Reuters

VACLAV Trunec ad­justs the Christ­mas light­ing dec­o­ra­tion out­side his house in the vil­lage of Cho­tovice near the town of Lit­o­mysl, Czech Repub­lic. Trunec has wrapped his house and gar­den in 27km of fes­tive lights. He first dec­o­rated his prop­erty 17 years ago with 200 bulbs and has steadily ex­panded the an­nual dis­play, which now draws thou­sands to Cho­tovice ev­ery win­ter. |

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