North Korea 2019

Written by  //  February 15, 2019  //  North Korea  //  No comments

North Korea 2018

Singapore to Hanoi: The bumpy diplomatic road since Trump and Kim first met
(Reuters) – the statement that came out of the meeting was light on specifics, opting instead for four general commitments:
-The two countries will establish “new relations” for peace and prosperity.
-The United States and North Korea will work together to build a “lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula”.
-North Korea committed “to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula”.
-The two countries will recover and repatriate the remains of soldiers killed during the 1950-53 Korean War.
Throughout all [subsequent] talks, as well as other behind-the-scenes negotiations, neither side announced major new steps toward denuclearization, easing sanctions, or establishing a new “peace regime” for the peninsula.
Statements carried by North Korean state media complained about Washington’s opposition to signing a peace declaration or easing sanctions until North Korea takes more steps toward denuclearization.
American and North Korean officials have been tight-lipped about what agreement might come from the second Trump-Kim summit, but analysts say Washington needs to be open to taking interim steps for any deal to be possible. Stephen Biegun, the top U.S. envoy to North Korea, told South Korean lawmakers that most of the recent discussions with Pyongyang had revolved around summit logistics, and that more talks were needed to address the substantive issues

North Korea has continued to produce bomb fuel while in denuclearization talks with the United States and may have produced enough in the past year to add as many as seven nuclear weapons to its arsenal, according to a study released just weeks … But the country’s freeze in nuclear and missile testing since 2017 means that North Korea’s weapons program probably poses less of a threat than it did at the end of that year, the report by Stanford University’s Center for International Security and Cooperation found.

5 February
State of the Union: Second Trump-Kim Summit set for Vietnam on Feb 27, 28
(Straits Times) United States President Donald Trump and North Korea’s Chairman Kim Jong Un are set to meet in Vietnam on Feb 27 and 28, Mr Trump told Congress in his second State of the Union (SOTU) address. The site of the meeting with the North Korean leader was not mentioned, but is widely believed to be the seaside city of Da Nang.
“As part of a bold new diplomacy, we continue our historic push for peace on the Korean Peninsula,” Mr Trump said.
“Our hostages have come home, nuclear testing has stopped, and there has not been a missile launch in 15 months.”
“Much work remains to be done, but my relationship with Kim Jong Un is a good one. And Chairman Kim and I will meet again on February 27 and 28 in Vietnam.”
While North Korea has refrained from testing missiles or nuclear devices since the two leaders met in a breakthrough summit in Singapore in June last year, and has returned the remains of many Americans killed in the Korean War, official talks on denuclearisation have not made any progress and official rhetoric on either side has been at odds.

UN monitors find North Korea protecting nuclear missiles and easily skirting U.S. sanctions
Trump hailed ‘tremendous progress’ in his dealings with North Korea, but the view in the U.S. is that it has yet to take concrete steps to give up its nuclear program

18 January
Trump, North Korea’s Kim to hold second summit in late February
(Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump will hold a second summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in late February but will maintain economic sanctions on Pyongyang, the White House said on Friday after Trump met Pyongyang’s top nuclear negotiator.
The announcement came amid a diplomatic flurry in Washington surrounding the visit of Kim Yong Chol, a hardline former spy chief, and marked a sign of movement in a denuclearization effort that has stalled since a landmark meeting between Trump and the North Korean leader in Singapore last year.

1 January
Kim and Trump Back at Square 1: If U.S. Keeps Sanctions, North Will Keep Nuclear Program
Nearly two years into his presidency and more than six months after his historic summit meeting with Kim Jong-un of North Korea, President Trump finds himself essentially back where he was at the beginning in achieving the ambitious goal of getting Mr. Kim to relinquish his nuclear arsenal.
That was the essential message of Mr. Kim’s annual New Year’s televised speech, where he reiterated that international sanctions must be lifted before North Korea will give up a single weapon, dismantle a single missile site or stop producing nuclear material.
The list of recent North Korean demands was a clear indicator of how the summit meeting in Singapore last June altered the optics of the relationship more than the reality. Those demands were very familiar from past confrontations: that all joint military training between the United States and South Korea be stopped, that American nuclear and military capability within easy reach of the North be withdrawn, and that a peace treaty ending the Korean War be completed.
Kim Jong-un, Ready to Meet Trump ‘at Any Time,’ Demands U.S. End Sanctions
Kim Jong-un, North Korea’s leader, said Tuesday that he was willing to have a second summit meeting with President Trump, but he paired the offer with a threat that if international sanctions against his country were not lifted, the North would “have no choice” but to return to nuclear confrontation.
“I am willing to meet the United States president at any time for the betterment of our international community,” Mr. Kim said in his New Year’s Day speech, broadcast on North Korea’s state-run television.
There were sparse direct references in the speech to denuclearization. But Mr. Kim said the country would not be willing to take further steps toward removing its nuclear weapons unless the United States reciprocated. … Since the Singapore meeting, Mr. Trump has occasionally seemed to waver on the question of lifting some sanctions before the North dismantles its facilities and gives up its weapons and missiles. Now, with Mr. Kim’s demand, he must decide whether to back down — and take steps similar to those of his predecessors.

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