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Expert speculates DPRK Kim is committed to denuclearization-centered talks with U.S.

  • April 22, 2019
  • , Yomiuri , p. 6
  • JMH Translation

By Hajime Izumi, professor at Tokyo International University


Interviewed by Kazusa Yoda, international news department


North Korea reported on April 18 that Workers’ Party of Korea Chairman Kim Jong Un observed the test launch of a “new tactical guided weapon.”


Although some experts analyze that the test was a warning to the U.S., it was actually a piece of propaganda targeting  the domestic audiences. The message wast that the country is stepping up its national defense capability. Thus it will have no impact on the U.S.-DPRK relationship.


In his policy speech delivered at the Supreme People’s Assembly on April 12, Kim Jong Un expressed discontent that his meeting with U.S. President Donald Trump in Hanoi did not lead to an agreement. Nonetheless, his rhetoric suggests that he was paying substantial consideration to the U.S. given his conventional anti-U.S. tone.


The U.S. is demanding its talks with the DPRK solely focus on denuclearization; whereas the North is seeking consultations that include the improvement of the U.S.-DPRK relationship and the establishment of a peace regime. This difference has long been a cause for stalled negotiations.


Under a newly announced personnel reshuffle, Choe Son Hui, who has long engaged in her nation’s negotiations with the U.S. and is well-versed in the nuclear issue, has been appointed first vice foreign minister. This appointment highlights the country’s commitment to negotiations with the U.S. It appears that North Korea wants to accept the U.S. proposal of holding talks centered on denuclearization and advance stalled negotiations as much as possible.


During the U.S.-ROK summit held on April 12, President Trump mentioned the possibility of holding a three-way meeting between U.S., ROK and DPRK leaders, but North Korea will probably not agree to this idea as it is projected to provoke China’s strong opposition.  


Kim is soon scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin, but it remains questionable to what degree the U.S. will take notice of his approaching Russia and whether this will lead the U.S. to relax economic sanctions. 


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