March 8, 2021

Under pressure, Kim Jong Un agrees to talk to the US about denuclearizing, peace

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By Alex Lockie

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is reportedly ready to talk to the US about abandoning his country’s nuclear arms and pursuing peace with South Korea.
Denuclearization has been the major roadblock in peace on the Korean Peninsula for decades, but now Kim seems willing.
North Korea reportedly said it would not need nuclear weapons if the “safety of its regime be guaranteed,” according to a South Korean official.
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is ready to talk to the US about abandoning his country’s nuclear arms and pursuing peace with South Korea, according to South Korea’s President’s office.

After historic between South Korean diplomats and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, North Korea has reportedly committed to denuclearize, with Kim Jong Un himself expressing a willingness to talk to the US about the touchy subject — something unthinkable mere months ago.

Surprisingly, Kim is reportedly now willing to talk to the US about abandoning his nuclear arms without asking anything besides his own safety in return. Throughout the duration of the talks, North Korea reportedly said it would suspend provocations like nuclear and missile tests.

“Chairman Kim said that even denuclearization could be among the agenda items for talks between North Korea and the US,” South Korea’s presidential office spokesman Cheong Wa Dae said, according to Yonhap.

“What drew our attention, in particular, is that he made clear that achieving denuclearization is his father’s dying wish and that it has not been changed at all.

“Kim also didn’t specify anything special from South Korea or other countries in return for the North coming to dialogue but expressed an intent to be treated seriously as a counterpart for talks,” he added.

Under Kim Jong Un, North Korea wrote the possession of nuclear weapons into its constitution, and has bitterly opposed any efforts to rid the country of its weapons. The US has maintained that it will denuclearize North Korea whether by force or by diplomacy, making the subject of denuclearization the major roadblock in peace on the Korean Peninsula since 1994.

“The North side clearly affirmed its commitment to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and said it would have no reason to possess nuclear weapons should the safety of its regime be guaranteed and military threats against North Korea removed,” Chung Eui-yong, the director of South Korea’s National Security Office, who attended the meeting said, according to Yonhap.

“In addition, the North promised not to use not only nuclear weapons but also conventional weapons against the South,” he added.

The news follows a year packed with white-hot nuclear threats and increasingly worrisome nuclear and missile tests carried out by North Korea. In response, the US put together the harshest sanctions package ever and made a number of military overtures and some overt threats from President Donald Trump.

But not only did the US apply what the Trump administration calls the “maximum pressure” approach, South Korea, under the new leadership of a more engagement-minded liberal party, extended olive branches to Pyongyang by including them in the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics and holding a number of talks that thawed relations.

North Korea reverses course

North Korea appears to have completely changed its tone after repeatedly declaring its nuclear arsenal was non-negotiable and that it reserved the right to attack US forces stationed in South Korea.

North Korea has talked about denuclearization before, but promises fell through before implementation. Should North Korea seriously push for peace and reunification with the South, South Korean and US officials have repeatedly stated that verifiable denuclearization would need to take place.

Yonhap reports that the groundwork has now been laid for Kim to meet South Korea’s President Moon Jae In, in what will be Kim’s first meeting with another head of state.

Earlier on Tuesday, Korean outlets reported that both sides had come to an “agreement,” though it wasn’t clear what they had agreed on.

North Korean media reported on Monday that Kim wanted to “write a new history of national reunification,” and would “rapidly take practical steps” towards creating peace between the two countries which remain technically at war since 1950.

Previously North Korea had maintained that it would not engage with the US as long as international sanctions and the US military in the region continued to apply pressure to the Kim regime.

IMAGES:
north south korea talks kim jong un Chung Eui-yong
Kim Jong Un meets South Korean officials in Pyongyang. KCNA
Kim Jong Un. Reuters

For more on this story go to: http://www.businessinsider.com/south-korea-north-korea-is-open-to-denuclearizing-after-talks-2018-3

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