A meeting between U.S. President Trump and Kim Jong Un will only be possible once the U.S. stops seeking North Korean denuclearization, an op-ed in ruling party organ the Rodong Sinmun said on Thursday.
Trump previously told Bloomberg that he would be “honored” to meet Kim Jong Un and that he would engage Pyongyang “under certain circumstances”, statements dismissed by Rodong as part of a scheme to disarm and weaken North Korea.
Instead, the article argued, talks will only be possible if the U.S. drops its final goal of North Korean denuclearization.
“Beautified by the Trump administration, as if they are performing a little act of kindness for North Korea, the essence of the ‘engagement’ policy is simple… they want to disarm us,” the editorial, published in the DPRK’s most widely read newspaper, reads.
“With flowery rhetoric, every day the U.S. is saying that ‘engagement’ is needed for ‘peaceful resolution’ [with the North] while claiming that not only the pressure, but the ‘resolving through talks and negotiation’ is what the U.S. wants.”
“Trump himself has mentioned a summit [with Kim Jong Un], and high-ranking government officials from the U.S. State Department also said ‘there will be no regime change, we will not invade, and the North’s system will be guaranteed’…”
The op-ed, with the headline “The U.S.’s anti-DPRK policy – the truth about the ‘maximum pressure and engagement,’” is more than 1,800 words long and is mostly composed of condemnation of Washington’s recent shift to a “maximum pressure and engagement” strategy.
Since April the U.S. has moved to encourage North Korean denuclearization through a combination of both pressure and sanctions on North Korea and the suggestion that it is open to talks.
In late April Trump told media that a major military conflict with North Korea is “absolutely” possible, days before he told other outlets that he would be “honored” to meet Kim Jong Un and complimented the leader as “a smart cookie.”
Trump reiterated his intention to engage North Korea in talks with the newly inaugurated South Korean government last week.
“This historical process shows that standard talks or negotiation between the DPRK and the U.S. is very challenging: unless the U.S. withdraws its anti-DPRK policies,” Rodong insisted.
The U.S. should drop “maximum pressure and engagement” policy, the op-ed added, or Pyongyang will be forced to prove its “anti-U.S. nuclear capability.”
“Before a bigger crisis approaches the U.S., and before it suffers the unrecoverable defeat and destruction, Washington’s Trump administration should make a wise decision,” the editorial concluded.
One Seoul-based expert suggested that while Pyongyang was claiming it was not interested in talks, the op-ed was part of a greater negotiating strategy with the U.S.
“One should not take North Korean rhetoric at face value,” Dr. Cha Du-hyeogn, a former intelligence secretary to President Lee Myung-bak, told NK News.
“This editorial shows that they are trying to save their face, as taking Trump’s offer without haggling will make them look like they are in a hurry. ‘Pyongyang will not move first,’ is the core message observed in this editorial.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured image: Rodong Sinmun
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