World

North Korean Media Silent On Summits, Denuclearization

REUTERS/Jason Lee

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Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter

North Korean state media has yet to say a word about the summits with South Korean and American leadership or any plans to denuclearize.

When South Korean officials visited Pyongyang to meet with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, the Blue House published a statement revealing that North Korea had agreed to hold an inter-Korean summit as well as discuss denuclearization with the U.S. One of the officials later informed Washington that the young despot had personally requested a meeting with President Donald Trump, which the latter accepted.

These revelations were revealed in media reports around the world but not inside North Korea.

Both Chinese and North Korean state media outlets released reports on the details of the talks following a surprising meeting between Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. China’s state-run Xinhua News Agency reported that Kim is committed to denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula and eager to meet with U.S. and South Korean leaders to pursue a peaceful resolution to tensions.

“North Korean leader Kim said that North Korea is determined to transform the inter-Korean ties into a relationship of reconciliation and cooperation and hold summits between the heads of the two sides,” Chinese state media revealed. “North Korea is willing to have dialogue with the United States and hold a summit of the two countries.”

North Korean media left out any mention of denuclearization or the much-anticipated summits. The state-run Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) ran half a dozen articles on the trip to Beijing, and none of them addressed a plan to denuclearize or Kim’s expected meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in or Trump — major moves for the young dictator.

“North Korea seems to need more time and is taking a cautious approach in setting its stance,” the South Korean Unification Ministry said, attempting to explain the North’s silence on the matter, according to The Korea Herald.

North Korea has rapidly advanced both its ballistic missile and nuclear programs under Kim Jong Un’s leadership.  In 2017, the North tested an intercontinental ballistic missile with the theoretical ability to range all of the continental U.S. and a thermonuclear bomb designed to level cities. These successful tests were accompanied by Other troubling and provocative advancements accompanied the successful tests.

Some observers suggest that Kim needs to wait until he has a concession of some sort to sell to the North Korean people as being worth the forfeiture of the nuclear weapons the regime has spent decades pursuing. Kim “would seek to propagate the idea that he induced the U.S. and international community’s ‘surrender’ by having mastered nuclear weapons,” former South Korean vice unification minister Kim Hyung-suk told Reuters.

“If talks go well, sanctions are eased and the economy grows. Then the people would understand Kim’s denuclearization decision and become strongly supportive of it,” he added.

It remains difficult to determine Kim or North Korea’s true intentions on this particular issue.

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