Korea: We Denuclearize When US Removes Its Threat

Saul Bowman
December 21, 2018

In a historic summit meeting in June, President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un vowed to work toward "complete denuclearization" on the peninsula but without detailed agreements on how it will be achieved.

Woo said the blunt statement on state media can be seen as heightened provocation from Pyongyang seeking to raise the stakes for potential second summit between Trump and Kim.

"We are the first on the list for a USA preemptive nuclear strike, and we don't have any guarantee of safety", the commentary said.

The North Korean statement said "the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula", includes elimination of not only the North's nuclear arms but also "the United States' nuclear weapons and other invading forces in South Korea".

The nuclear envoys are expected to discuss ways to break the impasse in North Korea-US denuclearization talks, as well as sanctions exemptions for a groundbreaking ceremony to reconnect and modernize cross-border railways and roads.

"When we say 'the Korean Peninsula, ' we mean the entire peninsula that includes our territory and the South Korean region where USA invasionary weaponry stands", the commentary said. When we talk about the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, it means the removal of all sources of nuclear threat, not only from the South and North but also from areas neighboring the Korean Peninsula, the statement said. "The U.S. must clearly know this".

The news comes as Pyongyang and Washington continue to face a deadlock in negotiations for removing sanctions on North Korea in exchange for an end to their shows of worldwide aggression.

State Department deputy spokesperson Robert Palladino said "the world remains united" in keeping sanctions on the North until its final and fully verified denuclearization.

"We want to enhance innovation as we will embrace Industrial Revolution 4.0 while in education, we talked on students and academic exchange programmes", he said, adding that one important matter that Malaysia wanted to learn from South Korea was discipline.

And as US President Donald Trump has made clear, the spokesman said, "Sanctions relief will follow denuclearization".

Since engaging in diplomacy, North Korea has unilaterally dismantled its nuclear testing ground and parts of a missile engine test facility and suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests.

The commentary puts a greater spotlight on the U.S.

"Pyongyang has constantly took issue with the U.S.'s "nuclear umbrella" over South Korea", said Woo Jung-yeop, a researcher at South Korea's Sejong Institute.

"If we unilaterally give up our nuclear weapons without any security assurance despite being first on the USA list of targets for pre-emptive nuclear strikes, that wouldn't be denuclearization - it would rather be a creation of a defenseless state where the balance in nuclear strategic strength is destroyed and the crisis of a nuclear war is brought forth", the KCNA said.

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