A week of policy failures and missteps for President Trump just got worse as North Korea announced that it would never denuclearize unless the US first removes its nuclear threat. After Trump met with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un in June, the president claimed that North Korea was no longer a nuclear threat and even suggested that he deserved a Nobel Peace Prize for his work on nuclear disarmament.
Now, six months later, North Korea’s official Korean Central News statement says that the rogue nation will never unilaterally give up its nuclear weapons. Instead, the North Koreans place conditions on disarmament that include a complete or partial withdrawal of American soldiers and nuclear weapons from near the Korean peninsula. This has been the traditional North Korean position in negotiations with past administrations as well.
“The United States must now recognize the accurate meaning of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and especially, must study geography,” the North Korean statement said per the AP.
“When we talk about the Korean Peninsula, it includes the territory of our republic and also the entire region of (South Korea) where the United States has placed its invasive force, including nuclear weapons. When we talk about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, it means the removal of all sources of nuclear threat, not only from the South and North but also from areas neighboring the Korean Peninsula,” the statement continued.
Meanwhile, as talks deteriorated between the US and North Korea, the Trump Administration raised the possibility of humanitarian relief from sanctions in exchange for nuclear concessions. In the past, the West has given sanctions relief to the North Korean regime in deals on which the hermit kingdom failed to follow through.
Last spring and summer, there were reports that the North was dismantling some nuclear test facilities. Other reports in recent months have indicated that the Koreans were continuing to work on nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles at secret sites.
“If we unilaterally give up our nuclear weapons without any security assurance despite being first on the U.S. list of targets for pre-emptive nuclear strikes, that wouldn’t be denuclearization — it would rather be a creation of a defenseless state where the balance in nuclear strategic strength is destroyed and the crisis of a nuclear war is brought forth,” the North Korean statement said.
What many experts predicted now seems obvious: The North Koreans will never willingly surrender their nuclear capability which is the one weapon that ensures the survival of the Kim regime. The talks with the Trump Administration seem to have been nothing more than a play for time and a ploy to negotiate for the removal of sanctions.
Expectations of a Nobel Prize for President Trump appear to have been very premature.