North Korean state media appeared to signal revamped pressure by the regime on the United States Tuesday ahead of a potential October visit in Pyongyang by U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
State media reported that North Korea plans to take a stronger stance in negotiations with the U.S. and suggested again that Pyongyang could walk away from denuclearization if the U.S. doesn’t formally call an end to the 1950-53 Korean War.
Chairman Kim Jong Un made the request to officially end the Korean War during meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in September, in which he said he would dismantle a missile engine-test facility and invite “external inspectors” to watch over the dismantling to ensure it is disabled. (RELATED: South Korea Says Kim Jong Un Ready To Speed Up Denuclearization, But He Needs Trump To Make A Promise)
In return, Kim asked the U.S. to formally declare an end to the war, which was halted with an armistice.
“But, if the U.S. doesn’t want the end of war,” then North Korea “will also not particularly hope for it,” the regime said Tuesday, according to The Wall Street Journal.
Pompeo announced plans to head to North Korea in October at a United Nations Security Council meeting on Sept. 27 to meet with leaders and plan a second summit between Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump.
The North Korean media reports suggested Tuesday that it agrees it is right to put an end to the “belligerent relations” between Pyongyang and the U.S.
That being said, the regime remained steadfast in its stance that declaring an end to the Korean war “can never be a bargaining chip.”
At a rally in West Virginia Saturday, Trump said he and Kim “fell in love” over the course of meeting and subsequent communications.
Seemingly part of an effort by Trump to flatter the North Korean leader before negotiations, other top North Korean officials were not convinced.
North Korea Foreign Minister Ri Yong Ho, speaking at the United Nations General Assembly on Saturday, said his state will denuclearize once it has “sufficient trust” in the U.S., and Trump should stop his “coercive methods,” including sanctions, Bloomberg reports.
Shin Won-sik, a retired South Korean Army lieutenant general who is now a research professor at Korea University’s Asiatic Research Institute, said Trump’s warm comments might work against him.
“If President Trump can’t have his summit, after saying he’s in love with Kim Jong Un, it’s going to be a total embarrassment for the U.S.,” Won-sik told The WSJ.
“The North Koreans have realized this, and now they’re going on the offensive,” he added.
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