North Korea defiantly proclaimed itself a nuclear power Monday and demanded an end to sanctions before it disarms, while the U.S. said it was running out of patience with the communist regime at the first six-nation arms talks since its nuclear test. The talks on the North’s nuclear program resumed at a Chinese state guesthouse in Beijing after the North ended a 13-month boycott over U.S. financial restrictions. Prospects for progress were uncertain, as North Korea issued a list of preconditions before it would dismantle its atomic program, CBS News reports.
North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho denounced U.S. calls for the world to maintain sanctions pressure — a mainstay of Pompeo’s diplomacy — as being inconsistent with President Trump’s position on the talks. Likewise, he maintained that the U.S. hasn’t responded appropriately to North Korea’s “moratorium on nuclear tests and rocket launch tests” and apparent step to dismantle a missile factory.
“The United States, instead of responding to these measures, is raising its voice louder for maintaining the sanctions against North Korea and showing the attitude to retreat even from declaring the end of the war, a very basic and primary step for providing peace on the Korean peninsula.” ~ North Korean Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho
The claims come after North Korea denounced the U.S. for calling on the rest of the world to maintain pressure on Kim Jong Un through international sanctions.
North Korea is saying that President Trump promised to ease sanctions on the country if it shut down its nuclear program.
However, the U.S. State Department responded back, saying that sanctions must remain in place until the denuclearization occurs.
“The sanctions must remain in place until we’re done . . . no matter how much progress we make along the way. There will surely be things along the way that take place. We’ve already had meetings. We are engaged in things which will improve the trust between our two countries. Those all make sense. But with respect to sanctions, the UN has spoken; the world has spoken.” ~ President Trump
U.S. officials have struggled to maintain that sanctions pressure, however. Ambassador Nikki Haley, the U.S. representative at the UN, argued that North Korea has provoked a total oil embargo by violating a UN-mandated cap on oil imports. But Russia and China, which have continued to sell oil to the regime throughout the year, put a hold on the embargo.
U.N. investigators have corroborated Haley’s case that the regime is violating sanctions. “[North Korea] has not stopped its nuclear and missile programs and continued to defy Security Council resolutions through a massive increase in illicit ship-to-ship transfers of petroleum products, as well as through transfers of coal at sea during 2018,” they wrote in a confidential U.N. assessment shown to reporters on Friday, Reuters reports.
Ri was unapologetic about the continued nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. “It is essential for both sides to take simultaneous actions and phased steps to do what is possible one after another,” he said Saturday. “Only when the U.S. ensures that we feel comfortable with and come close to it, will we be able to open our minds to the U.S. and show it inaction.”
“I think for the denuclearization to happen, we need to see the move, and I haven’t seen that yet. One of the things that hasn’t happened is the demonstrable moves toward denuclearization before we can entertain something like the end-of-war declaration. It is my hope that we move forward the issue of the end of war declaration with South Korea, This, in my view, should be an alliance decision, and we should not be precipitous in declaring an end of the war.” ~ Retired four-star Admiral and former commander of U.S. Pacific Command. RWT News
“There is a sense that North Korea is trying to develop a small warhead-size nuclear device, something it could put on top of a missile that it’s also developing, that could at some point reach America’s West Coast,” reports . “That would give the North an amazing bargaining chip. That is why the rest of the world, especially the United States, is trying to try to get these talks moving, and moving now.”
North Korea continues to ignore sanctions and the peace agreement they made, the U.S. is well aware of the situation and at some point, will have to stop playing nice with Kim Jong Un.
Chris “Badger” Thomas is a Veteran who served our country as an Army Combat Medic.