See More on Facebook

Diplomacy

North Korea reiterates ‘corresponding measures’ at UN

North Korea wants sanctions relief as corresponding measure, experts say.


Written by

Updated: October 1, 2018

North Korea has reiterated its demand for “corresponding measures” from the US before it takes further steps to dismantle its nuclear weapons, highlighting a continued divide over efforts to achieve denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Yong-ho said at the 73rd United Nations General Assembly that continued sanctions were deepening its mistrust in the US and there was “no way” it would give up its nuclear weapons unilaterally under such circumstances.

“Without any trust in the US, there will be no confidence in our national security and under such circumstances, there is no way we will unilaterally disarm ourselves first,” Ri said, calling for “corresponding response” from the US in return for its “goodwill measures” such as stopping its nuclear and missile tests, and dismantling its nuclear test site in Punggye-ri.

In its Sunday edition, North Korea’s state-run newspaper Rodong Sinmun carried a commentary calling it an “irony” for the US to increase sanctions pressure on the North while engaging in dialogue.

In a keynote speech at the Global Peace Forum on Korea at Columbia University in New York, Thae Hyong-chol, president of Kim Il-sung University in Pyongyang, demanded Washington not only agree to declare an end to the Korean War but also sign a peace treaty with the North, which he called the prerequisites for progress on denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un agreed to permanently dismantle a major nuclear compound in Yongbyon if the US takes corresponding measures, at his meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in earlier this month.

Ri’s emphasis on the US’ corresponding measures is believed to be part of the North’s efforts to increase its leverage ahead of an upcoming visit to Pyongyang by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a possible second summit between Kim and US President Donald Trump.

Pompeo’s trip, which Trump had canceled, citing a “lack of progress” on North Korea’s denuclearization, was reinstated after Pompeo met with his North Korean counterpart Ri on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly.

A road map for North Korea’s denuclearization, as well as corresponding measures by the US, are expected to top the agenda of Pompeo’s planned trip to Pyongyang in October and working-level talks between US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun and his North Korean counterpart in Vienna, Austria.

The two countries now appear to have broadened the scope of their discussions beyond an end-of-war declaration, with the North offering to take a bolder denuclearization step — potentially dismantling its Yongbyon nuclear complex — and the US pondering how to reward it.

“Dismantling the Yongbyon nuclear complex is not only symbolic but also practically crucial in terms of denuclearization because it would mean the North is giving up its capability to produce any more nuclear material and warheads,” said Hong Min, a senior researcher at the Korea Institute for National Unification.

In response, the North appears to want more than an end-of-war declaration from the US — the lifting of sanctions, Hong said.

During an interview with Fox News, President Moon cited an end-of-war declaration, the easing of international sanctions against the communist state, exchanges of an art troupe and establishment a liaison office in Pyongyang as possible corresponding measures by the US.

“The end-of-war declaration is a measure to give both countries grounds for discussing the easing of sanctions, which is why the North demands it as the first step to build trust,” Hong said.

“The possible scenario would be … that an end to the war is declared, the North begins to take steps to denuclearize and then the US begins to ease sanctions, albeit partially.”

The US, however, has reaffirmed that sanctions will remain in place until the North’s denuclearization is completed, despite Trump and Pompeo striking a positive note on ongoing negotiations with North Korea and signaling “progress” that has not been made public yet.

Chairing the UN Security Council on Thursday, Pompeo urged the international community to fully impose sanctions on Pyongyang aimed at cutting off funds for the North to develop nuclear weapons.

“Enforcement of Security Council sanctions must continue vigorously and without fail until we realize the fully, final, verified denuclearization,” Pompeo said.

Ri’s speech at the UN General Assembly signals the gap between the US and North Korea on who should make a concession first, according to Park Won-gon, a professor at Handong Global University.

“Ri’s speech showed that there is no change in North Korea’s call for a step-by-step, simultaneous approach in denuclearization,” Park said. “North Korea’s conditional offer to dismantle the Yongbyon nuclear compound might have facilitated the stalled denuclearization talks with the US, but it seems that their differences have not narrowed.”

Talks to follow up on the landmark North Korea-US summit have been in a deadlock over the sequence of the denuclearization process.

North Korea has demanded the US declare an end to the 1950-53 Korean War as the first step to end hostilities and build mutual trust, attributing the collapse of past negotiations with Washington to a lack of mutual trust.

But the US has been hesitant to do so before the North takes concrete steps to denuclearize amid concerns over the possible impact the declaration could have on the US-led pressure campaign, the stationing of US troops in South Korea and the status of the UN Command here.

“It would be difficult for the US to give either an end-of-war declaration or sanctions relief to the North unless it takes more concrete steps to denuclearize, such as dismantling the Yongbyon nuclear complex and accepting an inspection by international experts,” Park said.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


The Korea Herald
About the Author: The Korea Herald is the nation’s largest English-language daily and the country’s sole member of the Asia News Network.

Eastern Briefings

All you need to know about Asia


Our Eastern Briefings Newsletter presents curated stories from 22 Asian newspapers from South, Southeast and Northeast Asia.

Sign up and stay updated with the latest news.



By providing us with your email address, you agree to our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.

View Today's Newsletter Here

Diplomacy

New Delhi slams Islamabad for unilaterally stopping postal services

Prasad further said that Pakistan ‘without any prior notice or information has stopped sending postal department’s letter to India’. Union Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Monday said that Pakistan had stopped postal service from India for the last two months and slammed the move saying that it was in contravention of international norms. “For the last two months, Pakistan has stopped postal service from India. It’s directly in contravention of the World Postal Union’s norms,” Prasad told reporters. “But Pakistan is Pakistan,” Prasad, who is the Minister for Communications and IT, added. He said that Pakistan “without any prior notice or information has stopped sending postal department’s letter to India”. Pakistan has upped the ante against India ever since Parliament withdrew special category status to Jammu and Kashmir by revoking Article 370 of its Constitution.


By Dawn
October 22, 2019

Diplomacy

Beijing sounds warning against foreign interference at annual security forum

China’s Defence Minister Wei Fenghe delivers a speech at the Xiangshan Forum in Beijing, China. China’s Defence Minister Wei Fenghe sounded a thinly veiled warning against the United States at a security conference in Beijing, saying that interfering in the internal affairs of others and inciting colour revolutions have led to wars and turbulence in various regions in the world. Such “reckless interference” would not foster harmonious relations, said General Wei on Monday (Oct 21) in his speech to open the conference. Beijing has blamed foreign countries, including the US, for inciting the unrest that has convulsed Hong Kong for five months. It has also


By The Straits Times
October 22, 2019

Diplomacy

Border clash with India leaves 7 dead in Pakistan

Kashmir is becoming an untenable boiling point. At least six civilians and a Pakistani soldier were killed as Indian troops resorted to “indiscriminate and ruthless” shelling from across the Line of Control (LoC) in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK), officials said on Sunday. Officials said that nine other civilians were injured, adding that this was the highest death toll in 2019 in a single day of Indian shelling from across the dividing line. Inter-Services Public Relations (ISPR) notified through a tweet that one soldier had been martyred in the exchange of fire while two others were injured. ISPR added that in response to unprovoked ceasefire violations by India in Jura, Shahkot and Nauseri sectors, nine Indian soldiers were killed while several ot


By Dawn
October 21, 2019

Diplomacy

Chinese TV drama to air on Kenya’s national television

China has expanded aggressively into Africa. Kenya Broadcasting Corporation on Saturday signed a partnership agreement with China’s National Radio and Television Administration that will see the national broadcaster air a popular Chinese TV drama, Feather Flies to the Sky. The drama is a 55-episode series that will be aired by national broadcaster Channel one TV until June next year. Speaking during the launch event in Nairobi, Kenya, Dr Naim Bilal, the managing director of Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, said the TV series has been dubbed in Standard Kiswahili, one of the official languages in Kenya, to make it appealing to many people. “We have reviewed the series, looked at its quality and content as well as the quality of the language, and we are fully satisfied that it’s a drama that is going to entertain Kenyans,” Bilal said. He sa


By China Daily
October 21, 2019

Diplomacy

‘History will take note of those who ridiculed removal of Article 370’: PM Modi in Maharashtra

PM Modi also expressed confidence that the BJP will break all victory records in the October 21 Maharashtra Assembly elections. Prime Minister on Thursday once again lashed out at the opposition saying that history will take note of those who mocked the abrogation of Article 370, that gave special status to Jammu and Kashmir. “Whenever Article 370 will be discussed in history, — the decision that was taken in the interest of the country — the people who opposed and ridiculed will be remembered,” PM Modi said while addressing a poll rally in Maharashtra’s Parli. He said the next week’s state Assembly elections were a battle between BJP’s “karyashakti” (power of development) and opposition’s “swarth shakti” (selfishness). Further targeting the Congress and NCP leaders, he wondered if “frustrated and dejected” people could do anything good for people. “A Congress


By The Statesman
October 18, 2019

Diplomacy

Malaysia’s PM Mahathir says rail line RTS linking Johor Baru to Singapore to proceed

The rail line has been on again and off again. Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday (Oct 17) said Malaysia will proceed with the 4km Johor Baru to Singapore rail line. His comments about the Rapid Transit System (RTS) rail link followed that of Malaysian Transport Minister Anthony Loke on Tuesday that details of the project will be decided by the Malaysian Cabinet within two weeks. Tun Dr Mahathir said when asked by reporters on Thursday: “We will proceed with the RTS but we will take some time.” Asked if this meant the Malaysian government had resolved 


By The Straits Times
October 18, 2019