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

Japan, Russia to not discuss sensitive territorial issue at G20

Japan, Russia likely to skip agreement on travel to northern territories at G20. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Russian President Vladimir Putin are unlikely to agree on a framework to facilitate travel to the northern territories at their bilateral meeting to be held as early as Saturday on the sidelines of the Group of 20 summit, according to Japanese government sources. Since April, the two governments have been studying a system to grant people traveling between the two countries and the northern territories special passport and visa treatment. The system would enable joint economic activities without harming the legal positions of Japan and Russia, which both claim sovereignty over the four islands. Japan had been considering a Russian proposal to allow short-term visa exemptions for travel between Hokkaido and Sakhalin in the Russian Far East, with the aim of reaching an


By The Japan News
June 26, 2019

Diplomacy

Vietnam, EU to sign free trade agreement

The agreement will be signed in Hanoi on June 30. The European Council announced on Tuesday that it has approved the European Union – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the EU – Vietnam Investment Protection Agreement (EVIPA), and assigned the EU to sign the deals with Vietnam on June 30 in Hanoi The EVFTA and EVIPA are the most ambitious agreements concluded between the EU and a developing country. Once the EVFTA takes effect, over 99 per cent of tariff on goods from both sides will be lifted. Vietnam will remove 65 per cent of import tariff on goods from the EU. Remaining tariffs will be removed in the next decade. Besides offering significant economic opportunities, the trade agreement ensures that trade, investment and sustainable development go hand in hand, by setting the highest standards of labour, safety, environmental and consumer protection. Meanwhile, the EVITA will h


By Viet Nam News
June 26, 2019

Diplomacy

US should stop forcing nations to take sides

China state media says US should stop pursuing its polarising diplomacy programs. When then US president Barack Obama launched his Pivot to Asia strategy in 2012, trying to drive a wedge between China and its neighbors, the Southeast Asian nations’ response was loud and clear: They did not want to be forced to choose between China and the United States. The US has been a security ally for some ASEAN nations, while China has been their largest trade partner. So maintaining good relations with both makes perfect sense. European nations also resisted US pressure in 2015 by joining the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank. Luxembourg will host the AIIB’s first annual meeting outside Asia next month. After labeling China a revisionist power and a strategic competitor in its 2018 national security strategy, the US has intensified its efforts to curtail the rise of China. Instead of l


By China Daily
June 26, 2019

Diplomacy

Pakistan’s Iran conundrum

It’s hard to identify any country that benefits from relentless US efforts to tighten the screws on Iran. On November 21, 1979, Pakistani protesters stormed the United States embassy in Islamabad. They smashed windows and set fire to the building. By the time the Pakistani military had quelled the violence, the embassy had sustained extensive damage and several people — both Americans and Pakistanis — had died. The attack came at a tense moment for US-Pakistan relations. Several months earlier, Washington


By Dawn
June 26, 2019

Diplomacy

US, China must compromise to reach deal: Chinese official

Both sides must come together in good faith for any progress to be made. Both China and the United States must be willing to compromise if they are to reach a deal when presidents Xi Jinping and Donald Trump meet at the G-20 Summit this week, a Chinese trade official has said. Vice-Minister for Commerce Wang Shouwen said at a news briefing yesterday that trade teams from both sides are in talks. He did not elaborate, but stressed that China negotiates on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. “An agreement reached has to be beneficial for both sides, and meeting each other halfway means both sides must be willing to compromise – not just one side giving way,” said Mr Wang, who is part of China’s negotiating team.


By The Straits Times
June 26, 2019

Diplomacy

Pakistan to get $3bn in deposits, direct investments from Qatar

Pakistan has recently received loans from the World Bank and investments from the Saudis. Qatar is making $3 billion dollars worth of new investments in Pakistan, in the form of deposits and direct investments, said Special Assistant to Prime Minister on Information and Broadcasting Dr Firdous Ashiq Awan on Monday. The economic partnership between Qatar and Pakistan will reach $9 billion, Qatar News Agency quoted foreign minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani as saying. “The Qatari-Pakistani economic partnership will amount to $9 billion. Qatar affirms


By Dawn
June 25, 2019