North Korea has announced that its country has withdrawn the denuclearization of the negotiating agenda with Washington, a decision that threatens to curb dialogue, but to which President Donald Trump responded with surprising calm.
In a statement, the North Korean ambassador to the United Nations, Kim Song, made clear Pionyang’s frustration with the negotiations, which have been stalled for months, and considered that Washington is using dialogue to advance its “domestic political agenda” and, therefore, it is “nothing more than a trick to buy time”.
“We don’t need to have extensive talks with the U.S. now, and denuclearization has already been removed from the negotiating table,” the North Korean diplomat said.
Kim Jong-un’s regime had already threatened to remove the nuclear disarmament issue from the negotiating table before the end of the year if it did not see concessions from Washington and had even assured that, if there was no progress, it would have to take “a new path”.
Tension had also increased in recent weeks with tougher verbal exchanges reminiscent of the summer of 2017, when Pionyang ended up launching intercontinental missiles supposedly capable of reaching any point in US geography.
This week, Trump mockingly called Kim “rocket man” again; to which Pionyang responded by saying that returning to those insults meant the “return to the craziness of an old man”.
TRUMP’S STRATEGY: CALM AND PRAISE
However, to North Korea’s announcement, Trump responded this Saturday with a surprising calm and resorted to the strategy he has already used on other occasions to Pionyang’s provocations: praise for Kim and downplay his ambassador’s announcement to the UN in the hope that it is just rhetoric.
“I would be very surprised if North Korea acts aggressively, I have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un. I think we both want it to stay that way. He knows I have an election coming up and I don’t think he wants to interfere with something like that,” Trump told reporters at the White House.
“He (Kim) is someone I’ve gotten to know very well in the past three years, so we’ll see what happens,” he added.
Asked by Efe, the State Department did not answer questions about the future of Washington’s policy toward Pionyang or the state of negotiations.
PIONYANG’S ANGER AT U.S. “PETS.
Beyond the frustration with Washington, North Korea also made clear on Saturday its unease over a joint statement issued last Wednesday by the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Belgium, Poland and Estonia to condemn North Korea’s missile test on November 28.
“All these six members of the European Union (EU) are causing many problems to play the role of U.S. pet dogs in recent months, one cannot help but wonder what they will get in exchange for winning the favor of the U.S.,” criticized Song, the North Korean ambassador to the UN.
In a combative tone, the diplomat also asked that they not “make such a fuss while impertinently interfering in the affairs of others.
Those six European nations this week condemned the North Korean regime’s use of a large multiple rocket launcher from near the coastal town of Yeonpo in South Hamgyong Province (the country’s eastern slope) in its 13th weapons test this year.
Pionyang has used this type of military test to put pressure on the US Administration and force it to accept new conditions in the disarmament dialogue.
In 2018, the US and North Korea began a negotiation process that has led to two summits between Trump and Kim: the first in June 2018 in Singapore and the second in February this year in Hanoi, which closed without agreement on the denuclearisation process.
In Hanoi, negotiations stalled and have made little progress since then.
Both sides held a working meeting at the beginning of October in Stockholm, but the meeting closed with the North Koreans accusing Washington of not offering anything new and of maintaining a “hostile policy” against them.