“We are disappointed in the DPRK's recent actions. We urge the DPRK to return to diplomacy and cooperation,” said a member of the U.S. State Department on Tuesday regarding the recent threats continuously posed by North Korea. It is unusual for the U.S. to use the term “disappointed” regarding the North.
The reason why the U.S. urged North Korea’s change of actions using such an unusual language is the lack of progress in denuclearization talks during the last two years since the summit between the two countries. The joint declaration adopted at the fist bilateral summit in 2018 included building new relations between the U.S. and North Korea; building a peace regime on the Korean Peninsula; achieving a complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula; and repatriating the remains of prisoners of war and those missing in action to the U.S. However, as denuclearization talks have been stuck in a deadlock for 15 months with “no deal in Hanoi,” the other three agenda, including the normalization of U.S.-North Korea relations, have become practically nullified without any follow-up measures.
U.S. experts predict that North Korea, which has been attacking South Korea in full force, turns to the U.S. in the near future. As there are only five months left to the U.S. presidential election, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un who pledged to strengthen the country’s nuclear war deterrence power is likely to shake the election landscape by staging armed demonstrations or provocations. While the Trump administration is not showing any sign of changes regarding North Korea’s demand of lifting sanctions, Democratic presidential candidate and former Vice President of the U.S. Joe Biden has been emphasizing the importance of working-level negotiations, instead of a top-down method, and referring Kim as a “thug” and “dictator.”
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