North Korea warns it will not give up nuclear weapons until US removes 'threat'

North Korea warns it will not give up nuclear weapons until US removes 'threat'North Korea has vowed not to unilaterally give up its nuclear weapons unless the US reciprocates by removing its own nuclear threat to Pyongyang, in a blunt statement that casts fresh doubt on whether the current impasse in disarmament talks can be resolved.  The lengthy rebuke of Washington’s “hostile” policy towards the reclusive regime was delivered by the state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) on Thursday.  It accused the US of “high-handed practices and pressure” and offered one of the clearest explanations to date of how North Korea views the denuclearisation process.  At an unprecedented summit in Singapore in June, Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump, the US president, reached an agreement in vague terms to “work towards the complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.” Talks have since stalled as the two sides have failed to agree on the definition of denuclearisation or on how to move forward.  “When we refer to the Korean Peninsula, they include both the area of the DPRK [North Korea] and the area of South Korea where aggression troops, including the nuclear weapons of the US, are deployed,” the KCNA commentary clarified.  Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump met in Singapore in June Credit: Evan Vucci/AP “When we refer to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, it, therefore, means removing all elements of nuclear threats from the areas of both the north and the south of Korea and also from surrounding areas from where the Korean Peninsula is targeted,” it said. American nuclear weapons were deployed in South Korea from 1958 to 1991 but now Washington supports Japan and South Korea using bombers and submarines based elsewhere. It also maintains 28,500 American troops in South, which could be a potential sticking point in disarmament negotiations.  The regime’s statement denounced Washington’s policy since the Singapore summit as “misguided”, saying that it was “aghast” at Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state’s assertion that Pyongyang had “committed itself to the complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation of North Korea.” It added: “The US must have a clear understanding of the phrase, denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula, and study geology in particular, before it is too late.” The latest missive from Pyongyang jars with the more optimistic soundings from Seoul in recent months about Kim’s willingness to cooperate.  The North Koreans have criticised US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for his statements Credit: Nicholas Kamm/AFP However, it also validates warnings from North Korea analysts and experts, who have consistently argued that Kim Jong-un will not voluntarily relinquish his nuclear arsenal, which he views as both a security guarantee and as giving him a stronger hand in diplomatic negotiations.  “It has always said this. Some people wanted to delude themselves into believing otherwise. But North Korea is nothing if not consistent,” tweeted Vipin Narang, an associate professor of political science at MIT.  Writing in NK News, Andrei Lankov, a professor at Kookmin university in Seoul, described the KCNA dispatch as simply “an honest admission of Pyongyang's real intentions.” “This statement might have come as a shock to the few remaining nuclear optimists…However, a more unbiased observer should not be surprised at all,” he wrote.  “North Korea has never had the slightest intention to surrender their nuclear weapons. They saw what happened in Iraq and, more importantly, in Libya, and have long believed that without nuclear weapons they will become vulnerable to both a foreign invasion and a local revolution.” 



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