Well, this feels familiar. North Korea has nixed talks with South Korea set for Wednesday and threatened to pull out of next month’s summit with the U.S., underscoring the difficulty of negotiating with an ossified Stalinist regime that has clung onto power for seven decades precisely by switching between hostility and engagement with assorted world powers.
North Korea’s state KCNA news agency announced the initial cancellation Tuesday, citing the joint air force drills between Seoul and Washington that it deemed a “provocation” and practice for invasion. North Korea has long railed against U.S.-South Korean military drills, but the move surprised many Korea-watchers as Kim had earlier said negotiations would continue regardless of the exercises.
Meanwhile, a North Korean official separately said Wednesday that the summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump set for June 12 in Singapore would be scrapped if predicated on “one-sided” demands to give up nuclear weapons.
“We are no longer interested in a negotiation that will be all about driving us into a corner,” North Korea’s first vice foreign minister Kim Kye Gwan said Wednesday. “This would force us to reconsider whether we would accept the North Korea-U.S. summit meeting.”
The first vice foreign minister also criticized recent comments by Trump’s hawkish National Security Adviser John Bolton, who has said the North should follow the “Libyan model” of nuclear disarmament via “complete, verifiable and irreversible dismantlement.”
Read More: ‘A Deal Mr. Kim Cannot Refuse.’ North Korean Leader Could Be Offered Regime Security
That Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi was toppled with U.S. backing despite acquiescing to demands to denuclearize has long been a thorn in U.S. efforts to reach a deal with North Korea — one likely sharpened by Trump’s recent decision to nix a hard-fought denuclearization deal with Iran.
Professor Stephan Haggard, a Korea expert at the UC San Diego School of Global Policy, says there are two explanations for North Korea’s recalcitrance: “One is that Kim is testing the [Trump] administration and seeing if he can get some concessions. The other is that has he gotten cold feet — they just want an out.”
Either way, the brouhaha spotlights the risks for Trump meeting with the mercurial third generation North Korean leader, who like his illustrious father and grandfather has excelled at brinkmanship — alternating between threats and conciliatory gestures to eke concessions.
A U.S. government handout photo shows U.S. Central Intelligence (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, North Korea.
” data-medium-file=”https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/rtx5yxah.jpg?quality=85&w=300″ data-large-file=”https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/rtx5yxah.jpg?quality=85&w=600″ src=”https://timedotcom.files.wordpress.com/2018/05/rtx5yxah.jpg?w=300&quality=85&w=515″ alt=”U.S. government handout photo shows CIA Director Mike Pompeo meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang” width=”515″ height=”359″>Handout/ReutersA U.S. government handout photo shows U.S. Central Intelligence (CIA) Director Mike Pompeo meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Pyongyang, North Korea.
The Singapore summit would be the first ever meeting between the leaders of the longtime adversaries, whom do not have diplomatic relations and officially remain at war since only an armistice rather than peace treaty ended the 1950-53 Korean War. Distrust …read more
Source:: Time – World