North Korean criticism of the U.S. attitude following recent talks in Pyongyang can be considered part of its negotiation “strategy,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Thursday in Singapore.
This week’s visit to the South East Asian city-state saw the ROK President meet with Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and President Halimah Yacob to exchange views on last week’s DPRK-U.S. dialogue, Presidential Senior Secretary for Public Relations Yoon Young-chan said.
In a written statement, the ROK President was reported to have downplayed a statement issued on Saturday by a spokesperson of the DPRK Ministry of the Foreign Affairs which claimed Washington had used talks to insist on “its unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization.”
“When you look at the contents, it is a complaint that the U.S. doesn’t take corresponding measures although the [North] takes substantive measures with full sincerity,” Yoon quoted Moon as having said. “I consider it a strategy that might possibly appear in the negotiation process.”
The South Korean leader also noted that the North’s demands from Washington had changed.
“Another important point is the corresponding measures that the North requests the U.S. take is not easing sanctions and providing economic compensation like they did in the past, but the termination of hostile relations and the establishment of trust,” Moon reportedly said.
“This shows a big difference compared to the North’s previous attitude toward negotiation.”
Saturday’s statement – released just hours after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo departed Pyongyang following two days of talks – the DPRK also criticized the Trump administration for “never mentioning the issue of establishing a peace regime” and putting off plans to declare an end to the Korean War.
Despite what was widely seen as an underwhelming round of talks, Thursday saw the South Korean President express his positive stance on ongoing U.S.-DPRK dialogue.
“Negotiation between the North and the U.S. can now get on the right track,” Moon said. “I cautiously predict that the North-U.S. negotiations can achieve the success if the North implements its complete denuclearization and the international community jointly strives to guarantee the North’s security.”
Working-level talks will “take a long time and some parts won’t proceed smoothly,” he continued, with the outcome of Pompeo’s two-day visit to Pyongyang “symbolically representing” such difficulties.
Moon also reiterated his view that both the North and the U.S. are on a “normal course,” adding that the two Koreas and the U.S. share the same definition of denuclearization and rejecting claims that the countries have a differing understanding of the term.
“Through Secretary Pompeo’s visit to the North, it is confirmed that there is no difference in the concept of the denuclearization.”
Edited by Oliver Hotham
Featured Image: Blue House
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