North Korean state media on Monday said the country’s nuclear and missile program is not a subject for discussion with Seoul and that the DPRK should only negotiate with Washington DC, in a commentary published by the Uriminzzokiri website.
“The Korean Peninsula’s nuclear issues are the matters that Pyongyang should discuss directly with Washington, but not something that Washington’s puppet Seoul should be involved with,” Uriminzzokiri said.
The North Korean article, which comes ten days before a landmark U.S.-South Korean summit in DC, urged Seoul to not get involved, arguing that the current government has no reason to fear the North’s arsenal – as long as it stays out of Pyongyang’s way.
“The current South Korean government has no need to fear or feel unnecessary repulsion about our nuclear weapon,” it continued. “It is a means for securing peaceful unification and the survival of the Minjok (race).”
“Unless the South Korean government seeks to confront us, it has no reason to worry about our self-defensive nuclear deterrence built to counter the U.S.’s threat of invasion.”
Seoul responded on the same day, only a few hours after the North Korean commentary.
“The North’s nuclear is not the matter between the U.S. and North Korea, but an international one,” a spokesperson from Ministry of Unification (MoU) said during a regular briefing on Monday. “It is also obvious that Seoul is a party directly involved in this matter.”
South Korean President Moon Jae-in gave a speech on Thursday in which he said that “unconditional dialogue with the North” would be possible if the DPRK ceased “any further provocations through its nuclear weapons and missile systems.”
Should the North abide by the South’s suggestion, Moon said, future inter-Korean dialogue may include “nuclear disarmament and formation of peace system in the Korean Peninsula and normalization of Pyongyang’s relations with Washington,” and urged the North to respond.
“The problem of Seoul’s recent gestures for ‘dialogue’ and ‘cooperation’ is that they are all aimed at our ‘denuclearization,’” Uriminzzokiri said, adding that it would be “delusional and foolish” to discuss resolving the nuclear issue with Seoul.
“If the South Korean government truly wishes for the peace of the Korean Peninsula… it should switch to a new policy of uniting with the Uriminzokkiri (same people) to confront foreign invasion and interference.”
A Seoul-based researcher said that the commentary reaffirms a long-standing argument by some North Korea watchers: that Pyongyang’s international strategy remains unchanged by the political persuasion of Seoul’s government.
“What this article is hinting us is simple: Pyongyang will not accept whatever agreement Seoul-Washington may reach during the upcoming summit, as they are aiming to solve the matter with Washington directly,” Dr. Cha Du-hyeogn, former secretary to President Lee Myung-bak for crisis information, told NK News.
“The chances of a missile launch or even a nuclear test during or before the end of the next U.S.-ROK Summit is rather high. In this article Pyongyang is telling Seoul ‘not to be agitated’ by the tests, as they are not aimed against it.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: Uriminzzokiri
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