No Signs Yet of North Korean Denuclearization

Hannah Rogers
June 21, 2018

On Wednesday, South Korean foreign minister Kang Kyung-hwa said the decision to suspend the exercise could be reconsidered based on future developments with North Korea.

Immediately after the historic June 12 meeting, Trump claimed North Korea had begun the destruction of a missile engine testing site or would begin as soon as Kim returned to Pyongyang.

Buried in the platitudinous Chinese coverage of Kim Jong Un's third trip to China, between references to "safeguarding world and regional peace" and "a lasting peace", were some revealing little nuggets about the gap between Presidents Trump and Xi Jinping over North Korea.

During the Vietnam War, North Korean forces captured a U.S. Navy intelligence vessel and imprisoned 83 crew members who were released 11 months later. The U.S. and South Korea suspended a major joint military exercise that was planned in August in what was seen as a major victory for North Korea and its chief allies, China and Russian Federation.

"The US will not be happy to see these North Korean officials meeting the Chinese before they have even arranged the next round of negotiations", Cha said, adding that it was clear Kim was working on his tactics for the upcoming talks with the US. He told the North Korean leader that he hopes Pyongyang and Washington "will implement well the outcomes achieved at the summit".

"If Kim does not want to abandon his nuclear arms completely, then China will be happy to act as a broker between Pyongyang and the USA".

That could allow the lifting of U.N. Security Council economic sanctions that have hamstrung North Korea's foreign trade, although the USA insists those measures can only be eased after the North shows it has ended its nuclear programs.

The pomp and circumstance looked geared toward showing off the major improvement in relations between the communist neighbours, along with China's important role in keeping North Korea on track.

Dominic Grieve: Rebels could ‘collapse government’
Who is Dominic Grieve? Mr Grieve, who had talks on Thursday with ministers, said he could not understand why the change was made. Lee said he had had "conversations with ministers at all levels who are concerned about the direction of travel".

What's striking here is that Xi seems to be marking this moment as the start of North Korea's "new chapter", not the start of a deal-making process with the United States.

According to Chinese state media reports, President Xi Jinping told Kim that Beijing supported his efforts to develop the North Korean economy.

North Korean officials have also visited China recently to learn about its economic reforms - yet another sign of Pyongyang's reliance on Beijing for its economic wellbeing.

Trump said he has no plans to decrease the number of USA troops in the South as part of security assurances for the North, but has left open the possibility to do so in the future. "I was living on the border, so we were friends with the military border guards".

Some analysts contend that the rising trade frictions between China and the USA will make Beijing less inclined to continue using its influence over North Korea to help the US achieve its objectives of denuclearization. "Those discussions are also ongoing right now, but I don't have any updates for you", he told reporters.

North Korea could start the process of handing over the remains of troops, including Americans, missing from the Korean War within the next few days, two United States officials told Reuters on Tuesday.

"They did not get those but Trump went along with the meeting anyway, which means he cared more about the meeting than about the substance", Cha said.

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