August 23, 2019
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Kim Jong-un believes North Korea's denuclearization depends entirely on US

Andres Sanchez Braun

Seoul, Apr 26 (efe-epa).- The North Korean leader holds the United States responsible for the failure of the Hanoi summit and warns that his country is prepared for any possible situation, the North Korean official media reported Friday.

Kim Jong-un made these remarks during a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian city of Vladivostok on Thursday, according to North Korean official news agency KCNA.

Kim said that "the US took a unilateral attitude in bad faith" in his second summit with US President Donald Trump in February in Hanoi, which ended abruptly without an agreement.

"The situation on the Korean peninsula and the region is now at a standstill and has reached a critical point where it may return to its original state," Kim told Putin in reference to the possibility of resuming the missile and nuclear tests that North Korea has halted since Nov.2017, KCNA said.

The North Korean leader also said that "peace and security on the Korean peninsula will entirely depend on the "future attitude" of the US and that his country is prepared for any “possible situation.”

Putin reiterated his support for the gradual disarmament of the Korean peninsula with the progressive lifting of sanctions which Pyongyang advocates, and said the regime "needs guarantees of its security and sovereignty" in a multilateral framework.

With Beijing, Seoul and Moscow backing the idea of a phased process that offers incentives to the regime, Kim is now sending a message that the ball is in Washington's court and that it is the inflexible attitude of the US that is blocking the process of denuclearization on the Korean peninsula.

In Hanoi, the White House proposed a “big deal", wanting the North to dismantle its missiles and chemical and biological weapons - in addition to nuclear weapons - programs before granting concessions.

During the last week, Pyongyang has been seeking to pressure Washington to ease its stance in denuclearization negotiations although as several analysts point out that, in reality, it seems to be a strategy of tug-of-war in the long term.

The North Korean regime has in mind at all times the examples of Iraq, Libya and the breakdown of the Iran nuclear deal when faced with taking truly significant steps towards denuclearization while Washington believes that Pyongyang has proved to dishonest in over two decades of failed negotiations.

Establishing mutual trust seems to be the only way to break the existing stalemate, a huge challenge taking into account the impatience Trump has displayed in the White House and the way international sanctions are choking the North Korean economy.

Pyongyang has also included Seoul, a key mediator in bringing about the two summits between Kim and Trump, in the framework of its current pressure strategy.

The biggest proof of this is that the regime has already skipped nine consecutive Friday meetings at the inter-Korean liaison office that opened in September, the South Korean Unification Ministry reported Friday.

The last weekly meeting was held on Feb.22, days before the failure of the summit at Hanoi, which has brought about this change in approach by the regime.

Moreover, on Saturday, Seoul is holding an event to commemorate one year of the first summit between Kim and the South Korean President Moon Jae-in, a fundamental step in the current rapprochement between the Koreas.

Pyongyang has not only not responded to the invitation to send representatives to the event but this week North Korea's propaganda machine, for the first time in a long time, directly condemned the South Korean government for conducting some joint air exercises with the US.

asb/pd/ses

Related content

Kim concludes trip to Vladivostok after summit with Putin

Vladivostok, Russia, Apr 26 (efe-epa).- The North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, left the eastern city of Vladivostok on Friday, one day after his first ever summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

The train carrying Kim left Vladivostok station at 3:30pm local time after an official farewell ceremony with the minister of development of the Russian Far East, Alexander Kozlov, Primorsky governor Oleg Kozhemiako and Russia's ambassador to North Korea, Alexander Matsegora.

Kim’s scheduled activities on Friday in Vladivostok initially appeared to have been canceled, although sources from the regional Primorsky government later said Kim's visit to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier was back on.

The delegation accompanying Kim arrived at the memorial two hours later than originally scheduled, and while the reasons for the cancellation are not known, South Korean news agency Yonhap suggested it was due to inclement weather in the Russian port city, which later improved.

Kim was received at the memorial by Kozhemiako with an honor guard. The ceremony ended with more military honors before Kim's rail trip back to Pyongyang.

On Thursday, Kim and Putin met face-to-face for the first time in what was the first high-level meeting between leaders of the two nations since 2011, when Kim’s late father, Kim Jong-il, met with then Russian president Dmitry Medvedev.

In addition to bilateral relations, Thursday’s meetings discussed the state of Pyongyang's nuclear disarmament, a process which has stalled since a summit in Hanoi between Kim and US president Donald Trump in February failed to yield an agreement.

Following Thursday’s summit, the North Korean leader said that the security situation on the Korean peninsula was dependent on the “attitude” shown by the United States, state media outlet KCNA reported.

Kim reportedly told Putin that “the US took a unilateral attitude in bad faith” at the failed Hanoi summit.

"The situation on the Korean peninsula and the region is now at a standstill and has reached a critical point where it may return to its original state," Kim said in the meeting, adding that his regime was prepared for any “possible situation”.

“Peace and security on the Korean peninsula will entirely depend on the US future attitude," he said, according to KCNA.

Unlike Kim, who did not make any public statement following Thursday’s summit, Putin addressed reporters at the end of his meetings with the leader of the so-called “hermit kingdom”.

"North Korea needs guarantees of its security and sovereignty," Putin said.

He called on concerned parties to first take steps that would boost confidence and trust, and to provide security guarantees to Pyongyang, which he said would support the non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Putin also said the denuclearization process would need a "step by step" approach.

"If we act like we are, one step forward and two steps back, we will not achieve the desired result. The most important thing is to restore international law.

"Back to a situation when international law and not just the strongest countries in the world, defined the situation," Putin said.

North Korea has been demanding the complete lifting of sanctions that the UN has imposed on the Pyongyang regime in response to the nuclear and ballistic tests carried out since 2006 until a few months before the first summit with Trump in Singapore in Jun. 2018.

After agreeing to “work towards the complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula”, their second summit in Hanoi ended without a deal being signed.

Trump had said he chose to "walk away" from an agreement with Kim because the North Koreans "wanted sanctions lifted in their entirety, and we couldn't do that”.

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