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‘N. Korea didn’t take any practical measures for denuke,’ unification minister says

‘N. Korea didn’t take any practical measures for denuke,’ unification minister says

Posted December. 20, 2018 07:39,   

Updated December. 20, 2018 07:39


South Korean Unification Minister Cho Myoung-gyun drew the line saying that North Korea has not taken any practical measures for denuclearization and that the denuclearization negotiations between the U.S. and the North is still not under way. The position that “maintaining sanctions is the answer before complete denuclearization” also came from senior government officials. The circumstance for such position is gaining attention as the government, which focused on playing the role of a mediator, admitted on failing to achieve practical denuclearization this year and urged North Korea to engage in additional measures.

“It is correct to assess that denuclearization has not been under way,” said Minister Cho at a press conference on Tuesday. “There were U.S.-North Korea summit and working-level meetings between high ranking officials from the North and the U.S. but there have been no practical measures regarding denuclearization on both sides, not to mention the absence of corresponding measures,” Minister Cho. “The inter-Korean relationship per se is meaningful and may play the role of giving an impetus to denuclearization. Yet, at the same time, it is a structure that becomes affected when there is no progress in denuclearization.” Minister Cho eval‎uated that U.S.-North Korea talks are blocked due to the absence of practical measures for denuclearization by North Korea and this in turn hindered the inter-Korean relationship.

Unification Minister Cho’s such eval‎uation is quite different from President Moon Jae-in’s understanding early this month, when discussions on return visit by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was actively under progress. “(North Korea) promised to abolish all of its nuclear complex and facilities at Yongbyon in the event of corresponding measures. This is a very positive progress in light of the situation up until now,” said Moon during an in-flight talks, when he was heading towards New Zealand on December 2.

“The progress of denuclearization in earnest during the first quarter of next year will become a chance to affect the circumstances of the Korean Peninsula and influence the direction by 2020,” Minister Cho also anticipated.

In-Chan Hwang hic@donga.com