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Russia secretly offered North Korea a nuclear power plant: officials 

SMH, By John Hudson and Ellen Nakashima, 30 January 2019  Washington: Russian officials made a secret proposal to North Korea last northern fall aimed at resolving deadlocked negotiations with the Trump administration over its nuclear weapons program, said US officials familiar with the discussions.

In exchange for dismantling its nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, Moscow offered the country a nuclear power plant.

The Russian offer, which intelligence officials became aware of in late 2018, marks a new attempt by Moscow to intervene in the high-stakes nuclear talks as it reasserts itself into a string of geopolitical flash points from the Middle East to South Asia to Latin America. Its latest bid is expected to unsettle Chinese and US officials wary of granting Moscow an economic foothold on the Korean Peninsula.

As a part of the deal, the Russian government would operate the plant and transfer all byproducts and waste back to Russia, reducing the risk that North Korea uses the power plant to build nuclear weapons while providing the impoverished country a new energy source…….


January 31, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, Russia | Leave a comment

North Korea’s Nukes and the ‘Forgotten War’

Hampton Sides, author of a new book about a turning point in the Korea war, explores the state of the Koreas and Trump’s forthcoming visit.  Interview, Bloomberg, By Tobin Harshaw, January 28, 2019,

“……It is a cliche that the so-called police action in Korea from 1950 to 1952 is America’s “forgotten war.” But, like most cliches, there is a lot of truth to it. American ignorance about the Korean War is a shame, and not only because it devalues the sacrifices of those who fought in it. With North Korea’s nuclear arsenal now threatening the U.S. mainland (not to mention Hawaii, Japan and the folks on the southern end of the peninsula), and President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un set to meet again next month, a little historical perspective might be helpful.

………. HS: Be mindful of the fact that North Korea’s fear and loathing of the U.S., however warped it seems, does have legitimate historical roots. During the Korean War, the U.S. bombed that country back to the Stone Age: Every building, every bridge, every village. The stated goal was to not leave a single brick standing upon another brick. That air campaign was gratuitous and cruel. We killed hundreds of thousands of civilians. We’re a country that has a habit of bombing people and then wondering why those people hate us. As we parse the madness that is the Kim regime, we should always keep in mind that this underlying history of “terror from above” figures into that madness.

Kim strikes many as a lunatic, but his nuclear strategy has actually been quite rational and effective in achieving his goals. So coaxing him to give up his nukes will take some extremely creative and forceful negotiating. The Hermit Kingdom desperately needs many, many things from the outside world — food, medicines, capital, technology, expertise and so on, and Kim knows this. A big question is whether he would really allow his own people to benefit in any meaningful way from the flow of goods and amenities that a removal of sanctions would usher in. Another question is whether he’d actually allow outside experts to come in and closely monitor his regime’s nuclear compliance. Caveats aside, we can only hope the talks continue. I’m highly skeptical of Trump’s much-avowed skills as a deal-maker, but a deal is certainly in the interest of the whole wide world.

……….. HS: It was repeatedly said during the 2016 campaign that Douglas MacArthur is Trump’s “favorite general.” I don’t get the sense that Trump reads history — or anything else, for that matter — but it’s a telling detail. Because with Douglas MacArthur you had a grandiose and vainglorious autocrat who had surrounded himself with sycophants and yes-men. He was a colorful and interesting character — in narrative terms, a gift that keeps on giving. But he was a thoroughgoing narcissist. It was said that he didn’t have a staff; he had a court. He didn’t want to hear inconvenient information. He didn’t like experts — he was the expert. He was in love with the vertical pronoun. It was all about him.This sounds extremely familiar to me.

………. Of course, Korea should never have been divided in the first place — drawing that line created one of the great geopolitical tragedies of modern times. Many thousands of families were torn apart and never allowed to see each other again. Historically speaking, there’s no difference between northern and southern Korea. It’s one country, one language, one culture, one people.

Or at least it was. After more than 70 years of living apart, a reunification, if by some miracle it ever happened, would be a wrenching and doubtless violent process. It’s not clear how a brainwashed and traumatized people from an impoverished police state integrates into the dynamic capitalist society that is modern South Korea. Still, I believe it’s destined to happen one day.

January 29, 2019 Posted by | history, North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Kim Jong Un continuing to play to the vanity of Donald Trump?

While Kim plays to Trump’s ego, he builds his nuclear arsenal, CNN, By Samantha Vinograd,  January 20, 2019  “……..When President Donald Trump met Kim Jong Un in June 2018, they came to a vague agreement that North Korea would work toward the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. But, as Vice President Mike Pence stated last week, North Korea has failed to take concrete steps toward giving up its nuclear weapons, and it still represents a serious nuclear threat.

January 21, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | 1 Comment

Trump plans North Korea nuclear summit with Kim Jong Un for February 

Jan. 19, 2019, By Jonathan Allen, Abigail Williams and Dan De Luce

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump plans to meet face-to-face with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un next month for a second nuclear summit, the White House announced Friday. …..

January 21, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Top North Korea envoy meets Trump at White House for nuclear talks

Straits Times, WASHINGTON (REUTERS) 18 Jan 19, – A top North Korean nuclear envoy met President Donald Trump at the White House after holding talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Friday (Jan 18) in a diplomatic flurry aimed at laying the groundwork for a second US-North Korea summit.

The visit of Kim Yong Chol, Pyongyang’s lead negotiator with the United States and a hardline former spy chief, marked a rare sign of potential movement in a denuclearisation effort that has stalled since a landmark meeting between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore last year.

Kim Yong Chol and Pompeo, with tight smiles, posed together for photographs at a Washington hotel before holding about 45 minutes of talks that could help determine whether the two sides can make headway.

After that meeting, the White House said Trump hosted Kim Yong Chol in the Oval Office to “discuss relations between the two countries and continued progress on North Korea’s final, fully verified denuclearisation.”

There has been no indication of any narrowing of differences over US demands that North Korea abandon a nuclear weapons programme that threatens the United States or over Pyongyang’s demand for a lifting of punishing sanctions.

Hours before Kim Yong Chol’s arrival on Thursday, Trump – who declared after the Singapore summit in June that the nuclear threat posed by North Korea was over – unveiled a revamped US missile defence strategy that singled out the country as an ongoing and “extraordinary threat.”

The State Department said after Friday’s meeting that Pompeo had a “good discussion” with Kim Yong Chol “on efforts to make progress on commitments President Trump and Chairman Kim Jong Un made at their summit in Singapore.”

But it provided no specifics.

The high-level visit could yield an announcement of plans for a second summit. Both Trump and Kim have expressed an interest in arranging but some US-based analysts say it would be premature due to the lack of obvious progress so far……….

January 19, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Missile Defense Review: North Korea remains ‘extraordinary threat’ to US

Missile Defense Review: North Korea remains ‘extraordinary threat’ to US

Thomas Maresca,   USA TODAY, 18 Jan 19 SEOUL – A Pentagon report released Thursday described North Korea’s missile and nuclear program as an “extraordinary threat” to the United States, warning that the U.S. must “remain vigilant” despite ongoing diplomatic engagement with the North.

The Missile Defense Review report, introduced by President Donald Trump during a speech at the Pentagon, was released just hours ahead of a top North Korean envoy’s arrival in Washington to discuss a potential second summit between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un……….

January 19, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

USA govt could live with a Nuclear North Korea, but wouldn’t admit it

Can America Live with a Nuclear North Korea? National Interest, January 11, 2019 MilitaryTechnologyWorldICBM

Question: Can America live with an atomic North Korea, and could any presidential administration openly admit it can? The answer: Yes it can, and no it couldn’t.

by James Holmes friend asks: can America live with an atomic North Korea, and could any presidential administration openly admit it can? Yes it can, and no it couldn’t. The Trump administration and its successors can live with a North Korean doomsday arsenal because living with it represents the least bad option at hand. Military action is the other apparent alternative to the administration’s “ maximum pressure ” strategy of stifling the North into compliance through diplomacy and UN-approved economic sanctions . Yet the hazards, costs, and sheer uncertainty of war abound. Few presidents would embrace armed force barring an unambiguous and egregious provocation from Kim Jong-Un & Co.

Forcibly disarming Pyongyang could and probably would involve sacrificing thousands of American and Korean lives. Here’s a crude yardstick. The Korean War, a conventional conflict to preserve an independent South Korea, cost the United States some 37,000 military lives. Many more service folk suffered wounds. Thirty-seven thousand. That’s more than fivefold the combined American military death toll from the Afghanistan and Iraq wars since 9/11. And that leaves aside countless more Korean military and civilian lives expended fighting to the current standstill along the inter-Korean border.

It’s hard to see how war could be waged more cheaply than it was in 1950-1953 when the principal combatants, not to mention North Korea’s ally China and neighbor Russia, all boast nuclear weapons to accompany formidable conventional forces. And Washington must not delude itself into thinking air and sea power can do the job alone, any more than aviators and mariners repulsed the North Korean invasion in 1950. It took land forces back then—and today, in all likelihood, ground combat would be required to destroy the dug-in North Korean nuclear complex.

Any military strategy worth the name would demand that U.S. Army and Marine forces again seize and control ground—allowing them the leisure to ferret out underground facilities and armaments.

In short, a new Korean War would not be a come-and-go affair. Such a forecast is solidly grounded in the classics of strategy. For instance, Admiral J. C. Wylie points out that the proper goal of military strategy is to impose control on the foe. Aircraft and missiles flit by overhead while ships remain offshore. Though formidable, their presence is too intermittent to qualify as control. That being the case, he pronounces the soldier slogging through mud the “ultimate determinant” of who emerges the victor. The soldier goes and stays. “He is control,” proclaims Wylie. No control, no strategic success.

Or as the historian T. R. Fehrenbach puts it regarding the Korean War: “you may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it clean of life—but if you desire to defend it, protect it and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did, by putting your young men in the mud.” Wylie says much the same thing when he observes that— aviators’ and rocketeers’ assumptions notwithstanding—the ability to destroy something from aloft does not equate to controlling it.

Nor is it obvious that winning control is crucial in Northeast Asia………

Chances are, then, Washington will continue to insist on complete disarmament on the Korean Peninsula but will refrain from using force to bring about that happy end. …….

January 14, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s Speech stressed energy development, and co-operation wit South Korea

Kim Jong Un’s New Year’s Speech: On the Domestic Front, 38 North, BY: GLYN FORD, JANUARY 9, 2019  “……

Kim acknowledged that challenges to this domestic agenda certainly exist, noting especially the misallocation of labor, lack of expertise and poor productivity. In his speech, he instructed a reallocation of labor and resources, both for the military and the Party, to start to address these barriers to success. He also indicated that contingency plans were being explored in case a second summit with Trump fails to set US-DPRK relations back on track.

………Focus on Energy Generation

The country’s principal economic bottleneck is the desperate need for a massive increase in electricity production. A first step is the renovation and modernization of the supply industry. By singling out the Pukchang Thermal Power Complex for praise all the others inevitably lie in its shadow. Yet the most aggravating problem is fuel shortages. Under the current sanctions regime, the short-term solution—and by no means good news for the climate-change lobby—to the electricity shortage is massive increases in productivity in the coal sector. ………..

While hydroelectric plants merit a passing mention, in reality, the North is close to maximizing the use of the water resources available with both floods and droughts sharply reducing output. In the longer term, Kim argued that the country needs to “create a capacity for generating tidal, wind and atomic power under a far-reaching plan.” The last underlines Pyongyang’s perception that denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula does not preclude ambitions to be a civil nuclear power. The ongoing construction of their indigenous Experimental Light Water Reactor (ELWR) at North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center suggests that light water reactors will form the backbone of the industry, harking back perhaps to the Korean Peninsula Energy Development Organization (KEDO) from the 1990s. ………..

There is no question the Party is now on top as well as on tap with constant references to its primacy. Kim emphasized in his speech that the KPA is to “defend the Party and revolution and the security of the country and the people and continuously perform miraculous feats at all sites of socialist construction.” Echoing that sentiment, the People’s Internal Security Forces are there to protect Party, system and people, in that order.

Delivering peace and prosperity to the Korean Peninsula is the stated goal for both Pyongyang and Seoul. Kim underscored this mandate with:

“When north and south join hands firmly and rely on the united strength of the fellow countrymen, no external sanctions and pressure, challenges and trials will be able to hinder us….We will never tolerate the interference and intervention of outside forces who stand in the way of national reconciliation, unity and reunification with the design to subordinate inter-Korean relations to their tastes and interests.”

The “dog that didn’t bark” is the “end-of-war” declaration. Last summer, Pyongyang complained long and hard that Washington had not delivered on its promise to sign a political declaration ending the Korean War. In Kim’s New Year’s speech, this declaration failed to get even a mention. Pyongyang seems to have moved on, from Washington at least. Kim stated, “it is also needed to actively promote multi-party negotiations for replacing the current ceasefire on the Korean peninsula with a peace mechanism in close contact with the signatories to the armistice agreement so as to lay a lasting and substantial peace-keeping foundation.” The concept of a bilateral US-DPRK declaration signed by Seoul and Beijing has now become a multilateral proposition and negotiation. Which parties would be involved is unclear, but this may have been one of many topics discussed between Kim and Chinese President Xi Jinping during Kim’s birthday visit to Beijing

……….Until now Pyongyang has rigidly adhered publicly to parallel bilateral negotiations, one with Washington looking for a peace settlement accompanied by sanctions relief and a second with Seoul on economic cooperation. Now with the potential for the first set of negotiations to go multilateral, the second set may follow suit, increasing pressure on Moon to put clear blue water between Seoul and Washington with respect to “maximum pressure.”

January 12, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics, politics international | Leave a comment

Donald Trump should negotiate with Kim Jong-un, who may be willing to limit nuclear production capability

North Korea may be willing to begin denuclearization, and Donald Trump should make a deal. Michael O’Hanlon,   Jan. 4, 2019

Kim Jon-Un indicated he would put nuclear production capability on the table as a bargaining chip, and Donald Trump should make that deal.

In his traditional New Year’s Day speech earlier this week, North Korean strongman leader Kim Jong-Un has just made an offer that, if serious, could present an opportunity for President Donald Trump to reach a historic breakthrough in the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula and record his greatest foreign-policy accomplishment as president.

Kim’s speech was not all sweetness and light. He warned that his patience is not infinite, and that in the absence of diplomatic progress, his country may resort to more confrontational tactics. Little has happened since the famous Singapore summit back in June between Kim and Trump; we seem no closer to a deal on North Korea’s threatening military capabilities now than we did six months ago. Meanwhile, Kim clearly resents and suffers from the tough international sanctions that the Trump administration has convinced the United Nations to impose these last two years, after North Korea’s big missile and nuclear tests of 2017. The latest statistics show that, despite sanctions evasion in multiple quarters, North Korean trade was down as much as half in 2018 compared to the year before.

But Kim held out an olive branch nonetheless. He seems to want a deal, and seems interested in another summit. He was much more specific than ever before about what he might offer in the course of such a tete-a-tete with Trump. So far, North Korea has only offered to place a moratorium on future nuclear and long-range missile tests, which has been a welcome development, but has only talked vaguely about “denuclearization” and has not stopped making more bombs. Now, apparently, Kim would put nuclear production capability on the table as a bargaining chip.

North Korea experts like Jonathan Pollack and Jung Pak have documented how unlikely Kim would be to give up all his nuclear bombs (U.S. intelligence estimates he has as many as 60 by now). They represent the collective accomplishments of a program that Kim’s grandfather and father prioritized when they led North Korea, so giving up all those bombs quickly would almost seem to dishonor the memory and legacy of his forefathers. And perhaps even more importantly, Kim as well as his generals remember the one cardinal mistake Saddam Hussein, Mohammar Quadhafi, and the Taliban all committed — leaving themselves vulnerable in war against the United States because of the lack of a nuclear deterrent. For Kim to give up the bomb, he would need a great deal of confidence that relations will remain peaceful.

There is an opportunity to compromise, relax

Yet there is still a big opportunity for compromise, if Kim is serious about ending production of more bombs. North Korea could stop expanding its nuclear arsenal, and we could relax, then lift some of the sanctions imposed on North Korea over the years, especially the U.N. sanctions that have really cut into North Korean trade with China and South Korea in the last couple years. The goal of complete denuclearization could await another day.

With this approach, the United States would keep enough sanctions in place to stay true to its principle that North Korea cannot be accepted as a nuclear-weapons state; before being fully welcomed into the community of nations, it will in fact have to honor its obligations under the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and give up all its bombs. Yet as a practical matter, that second stage of nuclear talks can wait for a number of months or years. That is ok. The world will be much safer if North Korea stops enlarging and improving its nuclear and long-range missile arsenals that could threaten not only South Korea and Japan (and the almost 300,000 Americans living in those two countries combined), but also eventually North America.

Trump should take what he can get for now

The real challenge is likely to be verification. We know where some, but not all, of North Korea’s nuclear infrastructure is located. As such, international inspectors would have to be allowed to return not only to the Yongbyon location where they have been before, and where North Korea has operated a nuclear reactor to make plutonium as well as centrifuges to enrich uranium. They would also need some degree of free reign to explore other suspicious sites around the country. On the one hand, this would not be an arrangement unique to North Korea; similar provisions are part of the Iran nuclear deal, for example. On the other hand, North Korea has shown extreme nervousness about such inspections in the past.

Another possible problem: John Bolton, Trump’s national security advisor, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo may consider a deal that only freezes, rather than eliminates, North Korea’s nuclear arsenal inadequate for purposes of American and allied security. But they should reassess, or Trump should overrule them.

This compromise deal would go further than the Iran deal, in fact, if North Korea were willing to see its nuclear production facilities dismantled permanently. Yes, Kim would keep his nukes for a while. But he would have powerful economic and military reasons to behave himself. In this case, taking half a loaf is far more realistic than hoping for a complete denuclearization accord that just isn’t in the cards anytime soon. We should immediately engage in serious talks to see just how serious Kim really is about this intriguing and promising offer.

Michael O’Hanlon is director of research for the foreign policy program at the Brookings Institution. Follow him on Twitter: @MichaelEOHanlon

January 6, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un actually getting nowhere in nuclear diplomacy

Kim and Trump Back at Square 1: If U.S. Keeps Sanctions, North Will Keep Nuclear Program, NYT, By David E. Sanger, Jan. 1, 2019

Nearly two years into his presidency and more than six months after his historic summit meeting with Kim Jong-un of North Korea, President Trump finds himself essentially back where he was at the beginning in achieving the ambitious goal of getting Mr. Kim to relinquish his nuclear arsenal.

That was the essential message of Mr. Kim’s annual New Year’s televised speech, where he reiterated that international sanctions must be lifted before North Korea will give up a single weapon, dismantle a single missile site or stop producing nuclear material.

The list of recent North Korean demands was a clear indicator of how the summit meeting in Singapore last June altered the optics of the relationship more than the reality. Those demands were very familiar from past confrontations: that all joint military training between the United States and South Korea be stopped, that American nuclear and military capability within easy reach of the North be withdrawn, and that a peace treaty ending the Korean War be completed.

“It’s fair to say that not much has changed, although we now have more clarity regarding North Korea’s bottom line,’’ Evans J.R. Revere, a veteran American diplomat and former president of the Korea Society, wrote in an email.

“Pyongyang refused to accept the United States’ definition of ‘denuclearization’ in Singapore,’’ he wrote. To the United States, that means the North gives up its entire nuclear arsenal; in the North’s view, it includes a reciprocal pullback of any American ability to threaten it with nuclear weapons. “The two competing visions of denuclearization have not changed since then.”

o                  Mr. Trump and Mike Pompeo, the secretary of state, who is supposed to turn Mr. Trump’s enthusiasms into diplomatic achievements, dispute such conclusions. They note that the tone of one of the world’s fiercest armed standoffs has improved. It has, and both leaders say they want to meet again.

……….By some measures there has been modest progress. It has been 13 months since the North tested a nuclear weapon or a long-range missile, a change that Mr. Trump and Mr. Pompeo cite as the first fruits of what some officials now concede will be a long diplomatic push.

Relations between the two Koreas are warming, though there is considerable evidence that Mr. Kim sees his outreach to President Moon Jae-in of South Korea as a way to split the United States from its longtime ally.

But Mr. Trump’s strategic goal, from the moment he vowed to “solve” the North Korea problem rather than repeat the mistakes of past presidents, has been to end the North Korean nuclear and missile threat, not suspend it in place.

Mr. Trump dispatched his first secretary of state, Rex W. Tillerson, to Seoul in March 2017 to declare that a mere nuclear freeze would not be enough. Back then, Mr. Tillerson declared there would be no negotiations, and certainly no lifting of sanctions, until the North’s dismantling had begun. A nuclear freeze would essentially enshrine “a comprehensive set of capabilities,” he argued.

The decision Mr. Trump must make now is whether to backtrack on the objective of zero North Korean nuclear weapons even if that means accepting the North as a nuclear-armed state, as the United States has done with Pakistan, India and Israel.

January 5, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, USA | Leave a comment

Earthquakes still being set off due to North Korea’s September 2017 nuclear test

September 2017 nuclear test triggers 2019 earthquake in North Korea, By Jake Kwon and Joshua Berlinger, CNN January 2, 2019  North Korea’s sixth nuclear test was so powerful that it’s still triggering earthquakes more than a year later.

January 5, 2019 Posted by | incidents, North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

Kim Jong-un sends a conciliatory message to Donald Trump, as nuclear weapons talks remain stalled

North Korea’s Kim sends ‘conciliatory message’ to Trump as nuclear weapon negotiations continue to stall Kim Jong-un had promised Donald Trump that they would work towards denuclearising North Korea, but negotiations haven’t advanced in months, Independent UK, Kristin Hugo New York 1 Jan 19 

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has sent a  “conciliatory message” to Donald Trump as nuclear weapon talks between the two nations having stalled in recent months.

South Korea’s Chosun Ilbo newspaper reported the fact the letter has been sent on Monday, but did not include the details of the message or how it was sent. The report said that the message was in regard to US-North Korea relations, and that it was “letter-like.”

On Sunday, the office of South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in said Mr Kim had sent a letter to his counterpart in Seoul saying he wants to hold more inter-Korean summits next year to achieve denuclearisation of the peninsula…….

In November, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was scheduled to meet senior North Korean official Kim Yong Chol in New York City to discuss how to move forward. However, that meeting was suddenly cancelled, and has not yet been rescheduled.  ……

Reuters reached out to a North Korean official, the U.S. State Department, and the U.S. Embassy in Seoul, but has not yet received a response.\

January 1, 2019 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment

North Korea’s Kim Yong Un wants more nuclear summits with South Korea’s President Moon Jae-in

Kim Wants More Summits With Moon to Tackle Nuclear Issue ,Bloomberg, By Sam Kim and Youkyung Lee. December 30, 2018,

Kim intent on resolving nuclear impasse, Blue House says  North Korean leader sent personal letter to South Korea’s Moon

Kim Jong Un is intent on resolving the nuclear impasse that has stalled negotiations with the U.S. and wants to hold more meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Moon’s office said.

The North Korean leader sent Moon a personal letter of well wishes on Sunday, expressing a willingness to meet often in 2019 to advance peace talks and achieve “denuclearization on the Korean peninsula,” Moon spokesman Kim Eui-keum said. Moon thanked him for the letter, tweeting that the North Korean leader “again made clear” that he would act on his agreement with the U.S. and South Korea.

The missive came amid increased skepticism over Kim’s willingness to dismantle his arsenal of nuclear weapons, months after a historic summit with President Donald Trump in which the two leaders agreed to work toward denuclearization. Kim’s letter made no mention of Trump or the U.S.

…….Earlier this month, North Korea told the U.S. that sanctions and pressure won’t work to force Pyongyang into action on its nuclear program. North Korean state media said the removal of the U.S.’s nuclear weapons from the region was a condition of its own disarmament, raising the stakes for Trump’s efforts to hold a second summit with Kim………

December 31, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international, South Korea | Leave a comment

North Koreans very proud of ” nuclear weapons program completion”

[Photo] North Korea marks one-year anniversary of alleged nuclear weapons program completion, Daily NK, By Mun Dong Hui, 28 Dec 18, 
Daily NK previously reported that as North Korea celebrated the 70th anniversary of its founding on September 9, the authorities ordered the delivery of lectures placing emphasis on the country’s “successful attainment of nuclear weapons” and [North Korea] as a “nuclear superpower.”

“The authorities released nationwide propaganda on November 29 to mark one year since the ‘completion of North Korea’s nuclear weapons program,’ calling it a major historical achievement and great victory for the Party’s Byungjin Line (parallel development of the economy and nuclear weapons),” a source in Pyongyang told Daily NK.

An additional source in Pyongyang added, “They’ve told us that thanks to Chairman Kim the threats of nuclear and imperialist aggression against our nation have ended.”

The lectures intend to reinforce national unity and highlight Kim Jong Un’s role in an unprecedented achievement in the country’s history and espouse his leadership skills.

Lecture materials from November obtained by Daily NK corroborate this information, reiterating the focus in “completing the country’s nuclear weapons program.”……..

The latest lectures turn the emphasis toward maintaining the country’s nuclear program.

The lecture materials also highlighted the other track of the Byungjin Line: building the economy. “Our Dear Respected Marshal’s (Kim Jong Un) immortal achievement of the nuclear weapons program will stay with us forever. Now let’s actively contribute to accelerating economic development to achieve the ultimate victory of the socialist cause!”

December 29, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, weapons and war | Leave a comment

We will never give up nuclear weapons unless USA removes nuclear threat – says North Korea

North Korea Says It Won’t Give Up Nuclear Weapons Unless the U.S. Removes Nuclear Threat, TIME,  By KIM TONG-HYUNG / AP  December 20, 2018  (SEOUL, South Korea) — North Korea said Thursday it will never unilaterally give up its nuclear weapons unless the United States first removes what Pyongyang called a nuclear threat. The surprisingly blunt statement jars with Seoul’s rosier presentation of the North Korean position and could rattle the fragile trilateral diplomacy to defuse a nuclear crisis that last year had many fearing war.

The latest from North Korea comes as the United States and North Korea struggle over the sequencing of the denuclearization that Washington wants and the removal of international sanctions desired by Pyongyang. The statement carried by the North’s official Korean Central News Agency also raises credibility problems for the liberal South Korean government, which has continuously claimed that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un is genuinely interested in negotiating away his nuclear weapons as Seoul tries to sustain a positive atmosphere for dialogue.

The North’s comments may also be seen as proof of what outside skeptics have long said: that Kim will never voluntarily relinquish an arsenal he sees as a stronger guarantee of survival than whatever security assurances the United States might provide. The statement suggests North Korea will eventually demand the United States withdraw or significantly reduce the 28,500 American troops stationed in South Korea, a major sticking point in any disarmament deal.

Kim and President Donald Trump met June 12 in Singapore where they agreed on a vague goal for the “complete denuclearization” of the Korean Peninsula without describing when and how it would occur. The leaders are trying to arrange another meeting for early next year.

But North Korea for decades has been pushing a concept of denuclearization that bears no resemblance to the American definition, with Pyongyang vowing to pursue nuclear development until the United States removes its troops and the nuclear umbrella defending South Korea and Japan. In Thursday’s statement, the North made clear it’s sticking to its traditional stance on denuclearization. It accused Washington of twisting what had been agreed on in Singapore and driving post-summit talks into an impasse.

“The United States must now recognize the accurate meaning of the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and especially, must study geography,” the statement said.

“When we talk about the Korean Peninsula, it includes the territory of our republic and also the entire region of (South Korea) where the United States has placed its invasive force, including nuclear weapons. When we talk about the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, it means the removal of all sources of nuclear threat, not only from the South and North but also from areas neighboring the Korean Peninsula,” the statement said.

The United States removed its tactical nuclear weapons from South Korea in the 1990s. Washington and Seoul have not responded to the North Korean statement……..

“If we unilaterally give up our nuclear weapons without any security assurance despite being first on the U.S. list of targets for pre-emptive nuclear strikes, that wouldn’t be denuclearization — it would rather be a creation of a defenseless state where the balance in nuclear strategic strength is destroyed and the crisis of a nuclear war is brought forth,” the KCNA said.

“The corresponding measures we have asked the United States to take aren’t difficult for the United States to commit to and carry out. We are just asking the United States to put an end to its hostile policies (on North Korea) and remove the unjust sanctions, things it can do even without a snap of a finger.”…….

December 22, 2018 Posted by | North Korea, politics international | Leave a comment