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U.S.-N. Korea talks should seek denuclearization

Posted October. 02, 2017 07:33,   

Updated October. 02, 2017 08:12


The United States has a couple, three direct channels of communication with North Korea, U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said on Saturday, in a press conference after meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. “We are exploring whether North Korea is interested in dialogue and do talk to them.” Asked whether China is acting as an arbitrator, he underlined that China is in direct contact (with the North) and has its own channels of communication. However, “North Korean officials have shown no indication that they are interested in or are ready for pursuing talks regarding denuclearization,” U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a statement immediately after Secretary Tillerson acknowledged that Washington was communicating directly with Pyongyang.

Secretary Tillerson’s announcement seems to emphasize that Washington has been managing crisis properly, believing that, in the face of ever escalating tensions, the worst-case scenario such as a military conflict should be avoided. This, of course, would be a change in mood as North Korea, faced with both military and economic bans and the strongest sanctions by the international community, rushed into dialogue behind the curtains. It is also because North Korea, which feared the U.S. bomber B-1B that flew over the Northern Limit Line (NLL), needs to maintain communication with the United States to avoid the worst.

It is also possible that such communication will be developed into full-fledged talks and negotiations. Tillerson expressed hope that the whole situation would calm down a lot “if North Korea stops firing off missiles.” In fact, if early October goes by without additional provocations of North Korea, and once the momentum of dialogue is created through ongoing so-called Track 1.5 engagement between the two sides, where North Korean government representatives meet with private U.S. citizens with either a background in North Korea policy-making or relevant expertise, around the mid-October, a breakthrough change may be made by the time U.S. President Donald Trump pays a visit to Asia in early November.

However, it does not necessarily mean that North Korea has stopped its provocations. The South Korean intelligence authorities have found that the North is taking out several missiles from Pyongyang Weapons Research Institute and preparing for further provocation, before the establishment day of Labor Party on Oct. 10. The rouge regime is likely to use its typical tactics of “dialogue and provocation” to show off its belligerence and ask for under-the-table negotiations. Its hidden intention is to shake the confidence of the U.S. policy toward North Korea and break down cooperation between the U.S and South Korea, and the international community.

The purpose of North Korea to continue this dangerous game is clear. North Korea will keep refusing to abandon its nuclear programs to be recognized eventually as a nuclear-weapon state. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has already received a promise from the Trump administration that Washington will not change, collapse, unify through absorption, or invade the North Korean regime. Now Kim dares to ask for one more promise that the United States will not force his country to give up nuclear weapons. This is why we cannot welcome the North-U.S dialogue. Now is the time to put even stronger pressure on the North. Only then we can bring North Korea to a path for dialogue and denuclearization.