Peace treaty no bargaining chip: North Korea

North Korea's foreign minister tells the United Nations that ongoing sanctions were deepening its mistrust in the United States and there was no way the country would give up its nuclear weapons unilaterally under such circumstances.
South Korean honour guards with the remains of 64 of the country's soldiers killed in North Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War. The remains were found during a joint excavation project between the United States and North Korea.
South Korean honour guards with the remains of 64 of the country's soldiers killed in North Korea during the 1950-53 Korean War. The remains were found during a joint excavation project between the United States and North Korea.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Declaring end of Korean War can't be traded for denuclearisation, it says in commentary

SEOUL • Pyongyang yesterday said that declaring the end of the 1950-53 Korean War "can never be a bargaining chip" for getting North Korea denuclearised, adding that the country "will not particularly hope for it" if the United States does not want the end of war, according to state media KCNA.

In a joint statement with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at their Pyongyang summit last month, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un expressed a willingness to "permanently dismantle" the Yongbyon nuclear complex if the US takes corresponding action. Mr Moon said this would include a declaration of an official end to the war.

In a commentary, KCNA yesterday said declaring the war's end should have "been resolved half a century ago", and called it "the most basic and primary process for the establishment of new DPRK-US relations and peace" on the Korean peninsula "to which the US was also committed", referring to North Korea by its official name, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea.

At their unprecedented summit in June, US President Donald Trump and Mr Kim, who is Chairman of the State Affairs Commission, agreed in broad terms to "build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean peninsula".

But Washington wants Pyongyang to first provide a complete inventory of its weapons programmes and take irreversible steps to give up its arsenal.

KCNA said the Yongbyon nuclear facility, which the North expressed a willingness to take offline if the US takes corresponding action, "is a core one for its nuclear programme".

"The DPRK is taking substantial and crucial steps to implement the joint statement made at the DPRK-US summit, but the US is still trying to subdue someone by resorting to sanctions," the commentary accused.

 
 
 

However, three senior US officials involved in North Korea policy previously told Reuters that no progress has been made in moving towards serious negotiations on eliminating or even halting Mr Kim's nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programmes.

Dismantling Yongbyon would slow the production of fissile material, but not reduce the current stockpile of plutonium and highly enriched uranium, nor clear suspicions of other secret production sites, an expert previously told Reuters.

Mr Cho Sung-ryul, an analyst at the Institute for National Security Strategy, said the commentary may be aimed at limiting Washington's room for manoeuvre.

REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2018, with the headline 'Peace treaty no bargaining chip: N. Korea'. Print Edition | Subscribe