The government denied today to be considering lifting sanctions on North Korea for 12 or 18 months in exchange for leader Kim Jong-un, freezing the nuclear program, as reported by the South Korean agency Yonhap.
In a press conference, the State Department spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, explained that upon hearing the news published today by Yonhap contacted Stephen Biegun, the special envoy for North Korea, and he rejected that information.
“Although we do not anticipate any form of sanction from this podium, either adding sanctions or removing other sanctions, I will say that I spoke with Biegun about that and categorically denied it and said that this press article was totally false”said Ortagus.
This Thursday, Yonhap assured that the US was evaluating asking North Korea to freeze its nuclear, missile and chemical and biological weapons programs; instead of its complete elimination, as he had claimed so far.
Specifically, Washington would be evaluating lifting the sanctions that restrict the export of coal and textiles (one of the largest sources of income for Pyongyang), in exchange for Kim completely freezing the nuclear program and dismantling the Yongbyon complex, epicenter of the program North Korean atomic
In his article, Yonhap quoted a source with knowledge of the deliberations on North Korea in the White House.
On January 30, The New York Times announced that the government of President Donald Trump was considering lifting some sanctions against North Korea in exchange for a break in its nuclear program, although on that occasion the newspaper did not specify whether the sanctions were going to lift for a few months, as Yonhap did today.
If put into practice, that idea would imply acceptance of the status quo and legitimize North Korea as a nuclear power.
Since the negotiations began more than a year ago, Trump has insisted that his goal is the “complete and verified denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula.
In 1994, the administration of President Bill Clinton (1993-2001) unsuccessfully pursued a similar approach with the father of the current North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il.
Clinton got North Korea to stop its nuclear program for five years, until it came to light that the North Korean authorities were enriching uranium, one of the ways for the development of nuclear bombs.