US-NK could compromise on term ‘denuclearisation’

23-Sep-2019 Intellasia | KoreaTimes | 6:54 AM Print This Post

President Moon Jae-in flew to New York, Sunday, to attend this year’s United Nations general Assembly amid renewed hopes for a restart of dialogue aimed at ending Pyongyang’s nuclear weapons programme.

Cheong Wa Dae said the President planned to use his visit to the UN to highlight South Korea’s efforts to bring lasting peace to the Korean Peninsula. More importantly, Moon is widely expected to suggest to the international community that a step-by-step approach be taken toward denuclearising the North. Moon arrived at JFK International Airport, Monday morning (KST).

A series of bilateral summits has been confirmed. On Tuesday (KST), the President will hold a summit with Polish President Andrzej Duda, followed by meetings with UN Secretary general Antonio Guterres and Danish prime minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen. The following day, Moon will meet with Australian prime minister Scott Morrison and make a speech to the Assembly, according to the presidential office.

His visit will highlight key themes relating to trilateral security cooperation between Seoul, Washington and Tokyo, including the importance of taking a coordinated approach for real progress in denuclearising the North, according to presidential aides and political experts in Seoul.

As the US-North Korea summit comes to an abrupt end, denuclearisation is a fantasy that is leaving Washington as the odd man out on the Korean Peninsula. (AAP)

As the US-North Korea summit comes to an abrupt end, denuclearisation is a fantasy that is leaving Washington as the odd man out on the Korean Peninsula. (AAP)

“President Moon should underline the importance of taking a phased step toward the North’s denuclearisation,” said Kim Kyung-min, a politics professor at Seoul’s Hanyang University.

“In Hanoi, Washington and Pyongyang failed to agree on the definition of denuclearisation. The North demands that if it yields, so must the US

“If President Moon gets a clear conciliatory message from US President Donald Trump at their summit planned for Tuesday morning, then that would be a great re-start for nuclear talks.”

Expectations are that the ninth meeting between Trump and Moon will produce “something tangible” in terms of advancing the denuclearisation talks. The North has said it was willing to discuss nuclearise disarmament with the US if unspecified “threats and hurdles” to its security system were addressed.

Trump’s security team is known to have dropped the idea of “Libyan model” ― the single one-time event when then Libyan leader Muammar Qaddafi surrendered all his nuclear weapons to the US and the UK in early 2004. Trump’s previous national security adviser John Bolton stressed this, something North Korea recoiled against fearing it was a precursor to possible regime collapse.

“Ahead of the upcoming US presidential election next year, Trump wants to tell Democrats that ‘I’ve done something specific regarding the North Korea nuclear problem,” a senior diplomat familiar with Moon’s foreign policy told The Korea Times.

“Trump’s new security team believes the Libyan model will be technically unworkable. Now it’s time for President Moon to step up in his role as a facilitator.”

Regarding possible success factors for the Moon-Trump summit, the diplomat said, “If Moon gets Trump’s agreement for a partial reopening of Mount Geumgang tourism under the condition of having a “snapback” mechanism in place, as well as his reaffirmation of a security guarantee for the Kim Jong-un regime, then that would be beneficial for both Trump, Moon and other stakeholders in the denuclearisation process.”

What security guarantees North Korea is demanding are unclear, according to the diplomat. But Pyongyang has emphasized it has no plans to forego its nuclear weapons unilaterally without any real concessions from the US

In the past, the North has insisted the US remove its nuclear umbrella not only from the peninsula but also other countries in Asia.

More recently North Korea has called for Washington to come to the table with a “new way of calculation,” giving an end-of-year deadline after which Pyongyang may decide all bets are off.

Talks between North Korea and the US stalled after they broke down in Hanoi. North Korean leader Kim demanded a relaxation of economic sanctions that affect North Korean citizens in exchange for partial steps toward ending his regime’s nuclear programme.

Trump wanted a more “far-reaching deal,” and so they walked away empty-handed.



Category: Korea

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