Tag Archives: Kim Jong-un

North Korea urges Trump to make bold move to revive diplomacy

North Korea said on Friday it wants President Donald Trump to make a “wise option and bold decision” to produce a breakthrough in stalled nuclear diplomacy, in an escalation of pressure on the US ahead of an expected resumption of talks.

The statement by Foreign Ministry adviser Kim Kye Gwan came days after Trump said another meeting with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un “could happen soon” without elaborating.

Kim Kye Gwan says he doubts another summit could make any breakthrough because of what he describes as prevailing opinions in Washington that North Korea must first disarm before getting major concessions and that US-led sanctions brought the North to a negotiating table.

He accused the US of not acting to implement a joint statement issued after the first summit between Kim and Trump in Singapore last year. He said North Korea, for its part, made “sincere efforts” to build mutual trust and carry out the Singapore statement, citing the repatriation of three American detainees and US war remains.

“But I came to know that President Trump is different from his predecessors in political sense and decision while watching his approach to the DPRK, so I would like to place my hope on President Trump’s wise option and bold decision,” Kim Kye Gwan said, using the abbreviation of his country’s official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

“I and the DPRK Foreign Ministry will follow the future moves of the US”

Kim, in his mid-70s, is a veteran diplomat who led the North Korean delegation at much of the now-dormant six-nation nuclear disarmament talks held in Beijing in 2003-2008.

North Korea entered talks with the United States last year saying it’s willing to negotiate away its advancing nuclear arsenal in exchange of US security guarantee and sanctions relief. The North wants a slow, step-by-step disarmament process, in which each of its denuclearization step is matched by a corresponding US reward. The United States says sanctions on North Korea will remain in place until the country takes significant steps toward denuclearization.

During the Singapore summit, Kim Jong Un promised to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula without providing any timetable or roadmap for disarmament steps. In Singapore, Kim and Trump also agreed to establish new bilateral relations and build a lasting peace on the Korean Peninsula.

They met again in Vietnam in February for a second summit. But that meeting abruptly fell apart after Trump rejected Kim’s request for extensive relief of sanctions in return for dismantling his main nuclear complex, a limited denuclearization step. The two leaders held a brief, impromptu meeting at the Korean border in late June, and agreed to restart talks.

Last week, North Korea’s Foreign Ministry said working-level nuclear talks with the United States could resume in a few weeks. But it said discussions of North Korea’s denuclearization will only be possible when “threats and hurdles endangering our system security and obstructing our development are clearly removed beyond all doubt.”


North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited Trump to visit Pyongyang: South Korean media

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un invited US President Donald Trump to visit Pyongyang, Joongang Ilbo reported, citing multiple people familiar with the matter.

The offer to hold another summit was made in a letter delivered on the third week of August, the report said.

It came shortly after a separate letter from Mr Kim that Mr Trump made public in the first week of August.

Mr Trump said in early August that Mr Kim had sent him a “very beautiful letter” that mostly complained “about the ridiculous and expensive” joint military drills between the US and South Korea, adding that Mr Kim had apologised for the short range missile tests.

It’s not clear whether Mr Trump has responded to either letter, according to the report.

Working-level talks on denuclearisation have stalled since Mr Trump and Mr Kim’s last official summit in Hanoi ended without a deal.

While the pair agreed to restart talks in June at an impromptu meeting in which Mr Trump made history by stepping across the border into North Korea, little progress has been made since then.

North Korea last week agreed to return to talks at a “time and place to be agreed late in September”, state media Korean Central News Agency said, citing vice foreign minister Choe Son Hui.

Ms Choe, however, threatened to walk away from future talks if the US returns with the same “worn-out scenario,” KCNA reported, without elaborating further.


North Korea tests super-large multiple rocket launcher

North Korea tested a “super-large multiple rocket launcher”, the country’s state news agency announced on Sunday.

The Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) reported that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un oversaw the test and was pleased with the progress of the country’s defense industry.

Kim said the new rocket launcher was a “great weapon”.

South Korea’s military announced that Pyongyang fired two suspected short-range ballistic missiles off its east coast on early Saturday and that they flew roughly 380 kilometers (236 miles) at a maximum altitude of 97 kilometers (60 miles).

North Korea launched a total of seven tests over the last month.

Regarding these tests, U.S. President Donald Trump downplayed the latest launch saying: “He likes testing missiles, but we never restricted short-range missiles.”

Trump added that he had a very good relationship with North Korea’s leader.


South Korea stops security pact with Japan

South Korea announced Thursday it would not renew a pact with Japan to share military intelligence. Signed in 2006 the pact allowed the two US allies to directly share classified military information.

The General Security of Military Information Agreement (Gsomia), signed between Japan and South Korea in 2016, was aimed to share information about North Korea’s nuclear and missile capacity.

Seoul said it was no longer in its national interest to continue sharing confidential information with its neighbor during a sharp deterioration in ties.

“It is a pro-forma agreement that South Korea has with some 20 countries. It provides the protocol to share sensitive, classified information,” says Daniel Pinkston, a lecturer on international relations with Troy University in Seoul.

“If there is some sensitive data, for instance radar tracking data from a North Korean missile launch, that under this agreement can be shared directly.

This is now impossible. “If there is a situation in the future that needs sharing of intelligence, this is now problematic because they can’t do it. There is a workaround with the US as an intermediary, but it is cumbersome and can be inefficient and time consuming.

Tokyo said it would “strongly” protest the move and urged South Korea to reconsider.

According to Pinkston, Seoul’s latest step is part of deteriorating relations between Seoul and Tokyo,” says, “a symptom of rough bilateral relations.”

Never friendly

Relations between Japan and Korea were never very friendly. Between 1910 and 1945, the peninsula was a Japanese colony. During the Second World War, the Japanese army used thousands of South Korean women as sex slaves, euphemistically called “comfort women,” but, in the eyes of Seoul, never properly apologized for it.

Apart from bad memories over an unresolved past, relations keep on being hampered by a territorial dispute over the Dokdo or Tekeshima islets group in the Japan sea, claimed by both countries.

In 2015, Japan and South Korea set up the “Reconciliation and Healing Foundation” to “finally and irreversibly” settle the issue over Korean women who were forced into sexual slavery under the 1910-45 Japanese occupation of the Korean Peninsula.

But in July, the South-Korean government dissolved the foundation after criticism by victims and civic groups who said that Japan had failed to sincerely apologize and take legal responsibility for the wartime atrocities.

Japan reacted angrily and imposed tighter regulations of exports to South Korea of certain materials used in semiconductors and displays, claiming that the reason for the move was for national security.

“It affects the supply chain of big firms like Samsung,” says Pinkston. “The Japanese government says it is because of lack of security measures by South Korea,” making South Korea a “national security risk” for Japan. On August 2, to revoke South Korea’s preferential trade status, citing “security concerns,” to take effect on August 28. “This issue was not resolved diplomatically, so (the decision to not renew the Gsomia) was the answer of the Moon administration,” he says.


Meanwhile North Korea is likely to welcome the move. Over the last year, there was a significant thaw between Pyongyang and Seoul, facilitated by two top-level meetings between US president Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jung-Un, and three meetings between Kim and South Korean president Moon Jae-In.

“It is a kind of win for them,” says Pinkston, pointing out that it won’t change much in the overall relationship between the two Korea’s.

“I don’t think we will see real results” in reconciliation negotiations, because it would require a “fundamental change” in North Korea’s ideology. The overall position did not change and I expect the tensions to come back at some point,” he says.


N. Korea’s Kim supervised ‘new weapon’ test again: KCNA

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un once again supervised a “new weapon” launch, state media said Saturday, complicating efforts at denuclearization ahead of next week’s visit to Seoul by the US envoy to Pyongyang.

Friday’s launch was the North’s sixth test in recent weeks as it protests the annual US-South Korea military exercises which Pyongyang considers rehearsals for invasion.

Defense officials in Seoul said Pyongyang fired what appeared to be two short-range ballistic missiles Friday, that flew some 230 kilometers (140 miles) before splashing down in the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan.

A report by the official Korean Central News Agency said the tests had a “perfect result”, which helped “cement bigger confidence in this weapon system.”

“Juche shells were fired in the presence of the Supreme Leader,” KCNA said.

Pyongyang has routinely expressed anger at the war games, but in the past has avoided carrying out tests while the maneuvers are taking place.

The KCNA report came after Pyongyang called South Korean President Moon Jae-in “impudent” for hoping to resume inter-Korean talks while continuing military drills with Washington.

Plans to resume working-level talks between the North and Washington appear to have stalled since an impromptu June meeting between leaders of the two countries.

But US President Donald Trump, who has been playing down Pyongyang’s tests, said last week that he had received a “very beautiful letter” from Kim.

He also agreed with Kim’s opposition to the war games — albeit for financial rather than military reasons.

Stephen Biegun, the US special envoy for North Korea, will travel to Japan and South Korea next week for talks on denuclearizing the North, the US State Department said Friday.

The North has said nuclear talks would be “strictly” between Pyongyang and Washington, refusing to hold separate dialogue with the South.

“We have nothing to talk any more with the South Korean authorities nor have any idea to sit with them again,” the North said Friday.

Washington, Seoul’s security ally, stations nearly 30,000 troops in the South to defend it from its neighbor.


UK Urges DPRK to Engage in Denuclearisation Talks With US

LONDON (Sputnik) – The UK Foreign Office has expressed regret over continued weapons tests by North Korea and called on the Asian country to engage in denuclearisation dialogue with the United States.

“We deeply regret the continued launches of ballistic missiles by North Korea, most recently on 16 August, which violate multiple UN Security Council Resolutions. We encourage North Korea to engage in meaningful discussions with the United States, as agreed when President Trump and Kim Jong-un met on 30 June”, Minister for Asia and the Pacific, Heather Wheeler, said late on Friday.

The United Kingdom made its statement after North Korea launched two projectiles on Friday in what appears to be its sixth weapons test since 25 July.

The launches, which have been observed by North Korea’s head of state Kim Jong-un, were held even though Kim has been engaged in talks with US President Donald Trump to denuclearise the Korean Peninsula.

Wheeler maintained that Pyongyang should take action to completely dismantle its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes, noting that otherwise, sanctions against North Korea would remain in place.

The US-North Korea denuclearisation negotiations came to a standstill in February when the two heads of state met in Hanoi.

However, in late June, Kim and Trump met again at the Korean Demilitarized Zone where they agreed to re-energize the denuclearisation dialogue and initiate working-level contacts.


North Korea’s Kim Jong Un expresses ‘great satisfaction’ over weapons tests

North Korea on Saturday (Aug 17) said leader Kim Jong Un supervised another test-firing of an unspecified new weapon, seen as an attempt to pressure Washington and Seoul over slow nuclear negotiations and their joint military exercises.

Pyongyang’s Korean Central News Agency (KCNA) said that following Friday’s launches, Mr Kim expressed “great satisfaction” over his military’s “mysterious and amazing success rates” in recent testing activity and vowed to build up “invincible military capabilities no one dare provoke.”

The report did not mention any specific comment on the United States or South Korea.

The launches were North Korea’s sixth round of tests since late July that revealed developments of a new rocket artillery system and two separate short-range mobile ballistic missile systems that experts say would expand its ability to strike targets throughout South Korea, including US bases there.

KCNA did not describe what Friday’s weapons were or how they performed, but it said that the tests were successful and strengthened the military’s confidence in the reliability of the system.

Pyongyang’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper published photos that showed what appeared to be a missile soaring from a launcher installed on a vehicle and striking what appeared to be a coastal target.

Mr Kim is seen jubilantly raising his fist while celebrating with military officials.

“(Kim) said everyone should remember that it is the (ruling) party’s core plan and unwavering determination to build a powerful force strong enough to discourage any forces from daring to provoke us and to leave any opponent defenseless against our Juche weapons of absolute power even in situations of physical clashes,” the agency said, referring to the North’s national ideology of self-reliance.

South Korea’s military said earlier that two projectiles launched from the North’s eastern coast flew about 230km before landing in waters between the Korean Peninsula and Japan. The US and South Korean militaries were analysing the launches but didn’t immediately say whether the weapons were ballistic missiles or rocket artillery.

Experts say US President Donald Trump’s repeated downplaying of the North’s launches allowed the country more room to intensify its testing activity and advance its short-range weaponry while it seeks to build leverage ahead of nuclear negotiations with Washington, which could resume after the end of ongoing allied military drills later this month.

The US envoy for North Korea, Mr Stephen Biegun, will visit Japan and South Korea early next week for talks on how to “further strengthen coordination on the final, fully verified denuclearisation” of North Korea, the US State Department said.

North Korea has ignored South Korean calls for dialogue recently and is seen as trying to force Seoul to make stronger efforts to coax major concessions from Washington on its behalf.

Hours before the latest launches, an unidentified North Korean government spokesperson used unusually blunt language to criticise South Korean President Moon Jae-in for continuing to hold military exercises with the US and over his rosy comments on inter-Korean diplomacy, and said Pyongyang has no current plans to talk with Seoul.

Mr Moon, in a televised speech on Thursday, said a momentum for dialogue remains alive despite the series of “worrying actions taken by North Korea recently” and called for Pyongyang to choose “economic prosperity over its nuclear programme.”

The spokesperson also criticised South Korea’s recent acquisition of advanced US-made fighter jets and said it would be “senseless” for Mr Moon to believe that inter-Korean dialogue will automatically begin after the end of the ongoing US-South Korean drills.

The North had recently said it would talk only with Washington and not Seoul, and that inter-Korean dialogue won’t resume unless the South offers a “plausible excuse” on why it keeps hosting military drills with the United States.

Seoul’s Unification Ministry, which deals with inter-Korean affairs, criticised the North Korean statement, saying it wouldn’t help efforts to improve relations.


North Korean refuses talks with South, tests missiles

North Korea fired what appeared to be two short-range missiles into the sea on Friday and launched a scathing attack on “foolish” calls for dialogue from South Korean President Moon Jae In, rejecting further peace talks with Seoul.

It was the sixth round of launches in recent weeks in protest at ongoing joint military drills between South Korea and the US. North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has described the tests as a “solemn warning” to the South.

Pyongyang has routinely expressed anger at the war games, which it considers rehearsals for invasion, but in the past has avoided carrying out tests while the manoeuvres are taking place.

The South Korean military said the projectiles were fired from near the city of Tongchon, and flew some 230km before falling into the Sea of Japan, which is also known as the East Sea.

They were “presumed to be short-range ballistic missiles”, an official of the joint chiefs of staff told AFP, while further analysis was required to confirm that.

The latest missile test came as North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country said it rejected comments by Moon on Thursday outlining his desire for Korean unification, and said it had nothing more to discuss with the South.

It called Moon – who has long favoured dialogue with the North – an “impudent guy rare to be found”, for hoping for a resumption of inter-Korean talks while continuing military drills with Washington.

In a speech on Thursday marking the anniversary of Korea’s liberation from Japan’s 1910-45 rule, Moon outlined a goal of “achieving peace and unification by 2045”, although his single five-year term ends in 2022.

“His speech deserves the comments ‘foolish commemorative speech’,” the North said in its statement.


North Korea boosts Kim’s rising status as global statesman

There’s no question that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is in full control of his nation. But a recent change to the way he’s being formally described in the North Korean Constitution may allow him even more diplomatic leverage as he steps with increasing confidence onto the world stage for negotiations over his powerful weapons program.

Despite a flurry of unprecedented summits between Kim and the world powers that surround him, the outcome of that crucial diplomacy is very much in question amid currently deadlocked nuclear disarmament talks and an outburst of North Korean weapons tests in recent weeks.

North Korea on Friday said that its rubber-stamp parliament will hold its second meeting of the year on Aug. 29. It follows weeks of intensified North Korean weapons tests and belligerent statements over U.S.-South Korea military exercises and the slow pace of nuclear negotiations with the United States.

Kim has said he said he would seek a “new way” if Washington doesn’t change its hard-line stance on sanctions relief by the year’s end, though experts doubt he’ll fully abandon diplomacy and give away his hard-won status as a global statesman.

President Donald Trump on Saturday said that Kim wrote him a “beautiful” three-page letter in which he expressed desire to meet once again to “start negotiations” after U.S.-South Korea military exercises end, and also apologized for the flurry of short-range missile tests.

The North’s new constitutional changes, which show Kim’s further consolidation of his already formidable powers, could allow him to act more clearly as a diplomat on the world stage, technically signing a peace treaty with Trump, for instance, or giving speeches at the U.N. General Assembly, analysts say.

The changes, which were only made public recently on the country’s Naenara website, appear linked to an unusual political reality in the North: While Kim Jong Un is the undisputed leader, it is Kim’s grandfather, national founder Kim Il Sung, who is enshrined as North Korea’s eternal president.

Kim has governed from his position as chairman of Pyongyang’s powerful State Affairs Commission, which was established in 2016 to replace his father’s military-based National Defense Commission as the country’s top decision-making institution.

The constitution makes clear that Kim’s role as chairman of the new commission makes him the country’s supreme leader. But it now adds that he also “represents the country.” This signals potential changes from previous decades, analysts say, when it was the president of the presidium of North Korea’s parliament — the Supreme People’s Assembly — who acted as the ceremonial head of state.

“You could argue that the head-of-state business is meant to put Kim on the same plane as Xi, Trump or Putin. It certainly elevates his stature,” said Joshua Pollack, a senior research associate with the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, California, referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Whatever the new changes mean, no one, inside or outside the country, is disputing Kim’s status as the ultimate decision maker, and despite the new constitutional description, he has already been doing high-level diplomatic work on the world stage, releasing statements with Trump and South Korean President Moon Jae-in following those respective summits.

The North’s new constitution is the “Kim Jong Un Constitution,” according to South Korea’s Institute for National Security Strategy, a think tank affiliated with Seoul’s main spy agency. It is clearly designed with Kim’s future role in diplomacy in mind, including negotiations with the U.S. and also potential activities on the U.N. stage, the think tank said. Kim will be handling the important stuff in foreign affairs, while the head of the parliament will be mostly relegated to formalities, such as issuing credential letters to diplomats, it added.

North Korea’s government has yet to weigh in on the change.

“The constitutional revisions reinforce the shift Kim Jong Un has been trying to make away from the ‘military first’ politics of his father’s era, toward a new strategy of prioritizing economic development,” said John Delury, a Korea expert at Seoul’s Yonsei University. It allows Kim to “represent North Korea in the international community.”

Following a flurry of nuclear and missile tests in 2017, including three launches of long-range missiles potentially capable of reaching the U.S. mainland, Kim declared his nuclear arsenal as complete and urged a shift in national focus toward economic growth. But there are doubts whether he’ll ever fully deal away an arsenal he may see as his strongest guarantee of survival.

The new constitution maintains a description of North Korea as an “invincible political and ideological power, a nuclear power and an indomitable military power” and emphasizes Kim’s commitment to economic growth and developing science and technology.

North Korea’s weapons tests in recent weeks have been accompanied by rising frustration over the pace of nuclear talks and continued military exercises between the United States and South Korea, which the North claims are an invasion rehearsal. The series of short-range ballistic launches are seen as measured brinkmanship aimed at pressuring Washington and Seoul and building leverage ahead of negotiations, which could resume sometime after the end of the military drills later this month.

The United States has called for North Korea to commit to completely relinquishing its nuclear and missile program and rejected the North’s demands for sanctions relief in exchange for piecemeal deals toward partially surrendering its nuclear capabilities.


Trump says Kim wants to start talks after military exercises end

President Donald Trump said North Korea’s Kim Jong Un was open to more talks with the U.S. once U.S.-South Korean military exercises end, hours after Seoul reported the fifth ballistic missile test from its northern neighbor in about two weeks.

“He stated, very nicely, that he would like to meet and start negotiations as soon as the joint U.S./South Korea joint exercise are over,” Trump tweeted Saturday about the letter, which was delivered two days ago. No specific timeline was offered.

Trump said Kim had sent “a long letter, much of it complaining about the ridiculous and expensive exercises.” It was unclear if that characterization of the exercises was Kim’s or Trump’s view.

In 2018 Trump, after his first meeting with Kim, called the annual war games “very provocative” and said ending them would “save us a tremendous amount of money.”

The U.S. and South Korea have conducted drills, “largely computer-driven,” according to National Security Adviser John Bolton, with fewer troops on the ground.

In the past two weeks, though, North Korea has tested an increasingly sophisticated, hard-to-track missile system that could wipe out South Korean and Japanese cities – not to mention U.S. forces based in both countries.

There’s a “high chance” of more missile launches from North Korea following the fifth ballistic test in about two weeks, South Korea said Saturday.

South Korea’s military will conduct further analysis with the U.S. on what it said were likely short-range ballistic missiles fired at 5:34 a.m. and 5:50 a.m. local time on Saturday. The projectiles flew 400 kilometers (249 miles) into the sea between the Korean peninsula and Japan.

Trump tweeted that Kim’s letter, which he’d earlier described Friday as very personal, tied the continued missile tests to the joint exercises.

“It was also a small apology for testing the short range missiles, and that this testing would stop when the exercises end,” Trump said. “I look forward to seeing Kim Jong Un in the not too distant future!”

Trump and his team contend that diplomacy with North Korea remains on track, thanks in part to his personal rapport with Kim. They say Kim has kept his word by holding off testing a nuclear weapon or launching longer-range missiles capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.

Read More: Trump’s No-Worries Stance on Kim’s Provocations Is Under Strain

The recent missile launches show the limits of Trump’s personal diplomacy. When Trump met Kim six weeks ago at the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea, he predicted working-level talks would begin in two to three weeks. They haven’t so far.

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo has hinted that the U.S. might be sending a sterner message to North Korea privately, while suggesting that North Korea’s missile launches were just part of the diplomatic back-and-forth. Asked at a news conference on Tuesday if the launches sour the environment for talks, Pompeo responded simply, “No.”