“The end of war is not just a gift from a man to another at all. Furthermore, it can never be a bargaining chip for getting the DPRK denuclearized.”
With that statement, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has officially ruled out any possibility of the regime dismantling its nuclear weapons development program in exchange for an official declaration of the end of the Korean War from the United States.
For decades, North Korea has demanded that the United States formally declare the end of the Korean War which took place from 1950 to 1953. The battle was only stopped by an armistice. For North Korea, only an official declaration of the war’s end would resolve conflict in the Korean Peninsula.
During last month’s summit with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Kim proposed to shut down the main Yongbyon nuclear facility if the United States takes “corresponding measures”.
The problem was Kim did not elaborate on what those corresponding measures were. Some quarters in Washington surmised it may be with reference to the declaring an official end to the Korean War.
Cho Sung-ryul who works as an analyst at the Institute of National Security Strategy believes North Korea’s ambiguous statements may be attempts at forcing Washington to stumble and commit mistakes in the negotiation process:
“The North is trying to reduce the negotiating value of Washington’s potential offer of a peace treaty, by suggesting that ‘it’s not good enough to make us denuclearize’”.
The June summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim was thought to be a turning point in the relationship between the two countries. However, the lack of a well-defined agreement that detailed the process toward denuclearization was not achieved.
In the end, the summit provided only a “promise” that North Korea would pursue denuclearization.
Reports from South Korea indicate that North Korea does not appear to have any plans on fulfilling its promise to pursue denuclearization.
South Korea believes that North Korea has around 60 nuclear weapons. North Korea may have also produced 50kgs of weaponized plutonium which is enough to produce at least eight bombs.