NKorea says it has no plans to re­open nu­clear ne­go­ti­a­tions with US

Chicago Tribune (Sunday) - - NATION & WORLD - By Kim Tong-Hyung

SEOUL, South Korea — North Korea on Satur­day re­it­er­ated it has no im­me­di­ate plans to re­sume nu­clear ne­go­ti­a­tions with the United States un­less Wash­ing­ton dis­cards what it de­scribes as “hos­tile” poli­cies to­ward Py­ongyang.

The state­ment by North Korean First Vice For­eign Min­is­ter Choe Son Hui came af­ter Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s for­mer na­tional se­cu­rity ad­viser, John

Bolton, told re­porters Thurs­day in New York that Trump might seek an­other sum­mit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as an “Oc­to­ber sur­prise” ahead of the U.S. pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Kim and Trump have met three times since em­bark­ing on their high-stakes nu­clear diplo­macy in 2018, but ne­go­ti­a­tions have fal­tered since their sec­ond sum­mit in Fe­bru­ary 2019, where the Amer­i­cans re­jected North Korean de­mands for ma­jor sanc­tions re­lief in ex­change for a par­tial sur­ren­der of its nu­clear ca­pa­bil­ity.

Kim en­tered 2020 vow­ing to bol­ster his nu­clear de­ter­rent in face of “gang­ster-like”

U.S. sanc­tions and pres­sure. Choe’s state­ment fol­lowed a se­ries of sim­i­lar dec­la­ra­tions by the North that it would no longer gift Trump with high-pro­file meet­ings he could boast of as his for­eign pol­icy achieve­ments un­less it gets some­thing sub­stan­tial in re­turn.

“Is it pos­si­ble to hold di­a­logue or have any deal­ings with the U.S. which per­sists in the hos­tile pol­icy to­ward the DPRK in dis­re­gard of the agree­ments al­ready made at the past sum­mit?” Choe said, re­fer­ring to North Korea by its for­mal name, the Demo­cratic Peo­ple’s Repub­lic of Korea.

“We do not feel any need to sit face-to-face with the U.S., as it does not con­sider the DPRK-U.S. di­a­logue as noth­ing more than a tool for grap­pling its po­lit­i­cal cri­sis,” she said.

Some an­a­lysts be­lieve North Korea would avoid se­ri­ous ne­go­ti­a­tions with the United States at least un­til the Novem­ber pres­i­den­tial elec­tion.

Choe said the North has al­ready es­tab­lished a “de­tailed strate­gic timetable” for man­ag­ing what she de­scribed as U.S. threats.

“The U.S. is mis­taken if it thinks things like ne­go­ti­a­tions would still work on us,” she said.

The North in re­cent months has also been ramp­ing up pres­sure against South Korea, blow­ing up an in­ter-Korean li­ai­son of­fice in its ter­ri­tory and threat­en­ing to aban­don a bi­lat­eral mil­i­tary agree­ment aimed at re­duc­ing ten­sions. It fol­lows months of frus­tra­tion over Seoul’s un­will­ing­ness to defy U.S.-led sanc­tions and restart joint eco­nomic projects that would breathe life into the North’s econ­omy.

Kim

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