See More on Facebook

Diplomacy

North Korea has not given up hope for nuclear talks with US yet

Kim has mentioned a possibility of a ‘Christmas’ gift.


Written by

Updated: December 6, 2019

Tensions between the US and North Korea have heightened as the two sides exchanged threats and bellicose rhetoric of possible military actions if necessary, amid their stalled nuclear talks.

But they appear to have no intention to wind up their diplomacy at least for the next few weeks, experts said.

On Wednesday, Heino Klinck, US deputy assistant secretary of defense for East Asia, said the US has been refraining from responding to every single one of North On Wednesday, US Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia Heino Klinck said the US has refrained from responding to North Korea’s provocations but military options have not been abandoned.

“The military option was never taken off the table. … I mean, the military exists to serve as a deterrent. It serves as a stabilizing force,” he said.

Hours earlier, Pyongyang said it could take corresponding military actions against Washington, in response to news reports that US President Donald Trump had hinted at the possible use of force against the regime if required.

“One thing I would like to make clear is that the use of armed forces is not the privilege of the US only,” Park Jong-chon, chief of the general staff of the Korean People’s Army, said in a statement.

Park said North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was displeased to hear Trump’s remarks. But he said the close relationship between Kim and Trump could prevent a confrontation.

“I think the only guarantee that deters physical conflict from flaring up between the DPRK and the US despite such a dangerous military stand-off is the close relations between the top leaders of the DPRK and the US,” Park said, referring to the North by its official name the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

With their working-level talks in Stockholm in October failing to yield an outcome, Pyongyang and Washington have not made any significant progress in their diplomacy to dismantle the North’s nuclear weapons program this year.

Experts here said North Korea has started preparing for a policy change in case its nuclear talks with the US fail to move forward without the concessions it wants, such as security guarantees and the lifting of sanctions imposed over the regime’s nuclear program.

Pyongyang has been urging Washington to offer a more flexible proposal by the end of December. Otherwise, it will opt for a “new way,” it has said.

With a few weeks remaining until the end of the year, the two sides are not likely to ruin the mood for dialogue, despite a slim chance of it taking place.

“They seem to be fighting a war of nerves to see if there’s any opportunity for dialogue before the year-end. Trump is not in a political situation where he can offer what North Korea wants. But closing the door of dialogue with the North will be a loss for his diplomatic performance,” said Koh Yu-hwan, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University.

Once the deadline passes with no indications from Washington, the North Korean ruler will likely declare an end to diplomacy with Washington in his New Year’s speech, which usually covers his annual policy direction on diplomatic and domestic issues.

The policy shift may include strengthening cooperation with China and Russia, strengthening conventional military capabilities, such as short-range missiles, and pursuing a “self-reliant” economy to counter international sanctions.

“It is important for the US to issue a statement that indicates a change in its calculations, such as mentioning security guarantees, before North Korea announces the basic plans for the new year and the new path it will take,” said Hong Min, a research fellow at the Korea Institute for National Unification.



Enjoyed this story? Share it.


About the Author: ANN’s Board member Mr Zaffar Abbas, Editor of Pakistan’s Dawn has won the 2019 Gwen Ifill Press Freedom Award from the Committee to Protest Journalists.

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

China pledges international pandemic aid

 Producers of medical goods urged to meet demand from affected countries. China has pledged to do its best to offer aid to countries and international organisations affected by COVID-19 to help contain the outbreak, and businesses are being urged to boost production of epidemic prevention materials to meet demand from abroad. The announcement was made at a meeting of the leading group of China’s coronavirus response, chaired by Premier Li Keqiang on Thursday. Relevant departments and local authorities must step up co-ordination to closely monitor and analyse the quick spread of the outbreak outside China and roll out more targeted measures to prevent the import and export of infection, the group said in a statement. It is important to further


By China Daily
March 13, 2020

Diplomacy

Back to work in Beijing, with tough measures in place

 Mandatory quarantine for those coming from overseas; some Wuhan businesses may reopen. As most of China attempts to return to normalcy after an extensive lockdown to curb the spread of the coronavirus, the capital Beijing has been carefully trying to strike a balance between having people restart work while also trying to keep out imported infections, and yesterday ordered a mandatory quarantine for all international arrivals. This comes as the Hubei government announced that some businesses in Wuhan, the outbreak’s epicentre, would gradually be allowed to reopen. On Tuesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping visited Wuhan, his first visit to the city since the outbreak, a sign that the crisis could finally be easing after the government’s toug


By The Straits Times
March 12, 2020

Diplomacy

Xi vows victory over coronavirus in Wuhan

President expresses condolences to families of people who died in epidemic. President Xi Jinping said on Tuesday that prevention and control of the novel coronavirus outbreak remains the top priority and most important task, even amid the recent positive signs. Xi, who is also general secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and chairman of the Central Military Commission, made the remark during his inspection tour in the outbreak’s epicentre, Wuhan, capital of Hubei province. The spread of the novel coronavirus has been basically curbed in Hubei and Wuhan, Xi said, adding that initial success has been made in stabilising the situation and turning the tide in Hubei and Wuhan. Xi encouraged local residents and front-line worke


By China Daily
March 11, 2020

Diplomacy

China sets example in fighting virus

Epidemic reveals inadequacies in global governance; Beijing says it’s ready to help. China’s response to novel coronavirus pneumonia has set an example for the world in coping with the contagion and offered experience in advancing global public health governance, officials and experts said. The COVID-19 outbreak has also raised the alarm about global public health security and reminded countries that co-operation and co-ordination are needed to deal with challenges as infectious diseases can rapidly escalate into global emergencies, they said. There is a growing positive momentum in epidemic control nationwide thanks to the “comprehensive, thorough and rigorous” measures that China has taken to contain the virus, they said, noting that the daily


By China Daily
March 10, 2020

Diplomacy

More than 800,000 people return Beijing under quarantine

“There’s still a risk of an outbreak of the disease with people coming to Beijing from other cities and countries,” Zhang Tongjun, deputy head of a group for prevention and control work in the city’s residential communities, said during an afternoon conference. About 827,000 people who came back to Beijing from outside the city are still in a 14-day quarantine to see if they had been infected with the novel coronavirus, an official said on Friday. “There’s still a risk of an outbreak of the disease with people coming to Beijing from other cities and countries,” Zhang Tongjun, deputy head of a group for prevention and control work in the city’s residential communities, said during an afternoon conference. Z


By China Daily
March 9, 2020

Diplomacy

South Korea declares third city as special care zone as cases spike

President Moon receives letter of support from North Korean leader as infected cases cross 6,000. South Korea has declared a third city a “special care zone” to boost its capability to fight a spike in coronavirus infections, with cases nationwide soaring beyond 6,000. The death toll stands at 42, mostly the elderly with underlying health conditions, while 88 people have recovered, including 47 discharged yesterday. The care zone announcement came as the presidential Blue House revealed that South Korean President Moon Jae-in received a letter on Wednesday from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressing support and comfort to the people battling the coronavirus outbreak, adding that he is confident they will “prevail in this fight wit


By The Straits Times
March 6, 2020