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‘N. Koreans believe that U.S. recognizes N. Korea as a nuclear state’

‘N. Koreans believe that U.S. recognizes N. Korea as a nuclear state’

Posted May. 03, 2018 07:52,   

Updated May. 03, 2018 07:52


“Ever since North Korean leader Kim Jong Un announced intentions for denuclearization, North Koreans’ pride of possessing nuclear weapons has soared. It is seen as a form of distorted confidence as a world power,” Jean Lee, a Pulitzer-nominated veteran foreign correspondent and expert on North Korea, said in a telephone interview with The Dong-A Ilbo.

“According to sources in North Korea, the people believe that it is little wonder that their leader’s status has risen to the extent of talking with the U.S. president,” she added. This means that North Koreans believe that even the world’s superpower has no choice but to succumb to a country with nuclear power.

“North Koreans do not believe at all that their leader would give up nuclear weapons. They regard the North Korea-U.S. summit as an opportunity to confirm‎ their status as a nuclear power,” said Lee, who is currently serving the director for the Korea Foundation Center at Woodrow Wilson Center, a Washington-based think tank. It appears that Kim Jong Un had indoctrinated his people about the meaning of the summit.

Lee appeared to be dubious about the Kim’s proposal on closure and verification of North Korea’s nuclear facilities. The facilities proposed by Kim barely accounts for 10 percent of North Korea’s nuclear facilities in total. Lee also predicted that the North Korean leader would simply provide a “tour” to the international inspection team and keep its enriched uranium, its main facilities, carefully hidden.

Lee also predicted that it would be difficult for the North Korea- U.S. summit to yield actual results, because both sides have a different understanding of denuclearization.” This is because North Korea is considering the removal of a nuclear umbrella spanning the Korean Peninsula and Southeast Asia, while the United States is fixated on teaching North Korea a lesson on nuclear threats.

Mi-Kyung Jung mickey@donga.com