North Korea revealed it is open to discussing denuclearization with the U.S., but the rogue regime’s offer is dubious considering its long history of broken promises.
“I think we can be suitably skeptical that this is a dramatic breakthrough,” Bruce Klingner, the former chief of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Korea branch and current senior research fellow at the Heritage Foundation’s Asian Studies Center, told The Daily Caller News Foundation. “We have been on this horse before, and we’ve been bucked off.”
“It’s a surprise,” he added, “None of us would have expected this two months ago. But, since we’ve been down this path so many times before, we tend to be quite cynical.”
North Korea violated all of the previous denuclearization agreements, including the North-South Denuclearization Agreement, the Non-Proliferation Treaty, the International Atomic Energy Agency safeguards, the Agreed Framework, three Six-Party Talks agreements, and the Leap Day Agreement. Pyongyang has promised over the years not to develop nuclear weapons, the tests of which were followed by unfulfilled promises to abandon the weapons North Korea agreed to never build in the first place.
The U.S. offered North Korea billions of dollars in aid during the Clinton administration while the North ran a secret nuclear weapons program. This trend has continued.
North Korea conducted its sixth, nuclear weapons test last September, detonating a suspected hydrogen bomb. The regime then tested a new intercontinental ballistic missile believed to be able to range the continental U.S. These alarming weapons developments were part of North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un’s aggressive push to realize North Korea’s nuclear ambitions.
Pyongyang expects the U.S. and its allies to believe it’s sincere in its offer to discuss denuclearization — with North Korea repeatedly negotiated in bad faith.
The North announced an interest in dialogue with the U.S., offering to halt weapons testing while talks are underway, which followed a meeting between North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un and a handful of South Korean diplomats in Pyongyang. “The North expressed its willingness to hold a heartfelt dialogue with the U.S. on the issues of denuclearization,” Seoul revealed Tuesday.
North Korea “made it clear that it would have no reason to keep nuclear weapons if the military threat to the North was eliminated and its security guaranteed,” South Korea’s presidential office explained.
The language is noticeably reminiscent of North Korea’s repeated demands the U.S. abandon its “hostile policy” toward the North, which have included regular calls for the removal of American troops from the peninsula, the abrogation of the bilateral defense treaty with South Korea, and the removal of America’s extended deterrence guarantees.
North Korea’s future demands, particularly regarding planned joint military drills, will reveal more about its intentions, but state media reports already indicate North Korea may not be sincere in its offers and overtures.
“Our nuclear program is the sword of justice aimed at infinitely wiping off the United States’ blood-tainted cruel history of nuclear crimes and the formation of a nuclear devil mortal enemy,” the Rodong Sinmun wrote Tuesday.
The Trump administration appears to be approaching this unusual situation cautiously.
“We’ve come certainly a long way, at least rhetorically, with North Korea. … It would be a great thing for the world, it would be a great thing for North Korea, it would be a great thing for the peninsula, but we’ll see what happens,” President Donald Trump said in the Oval Office Tuesday.
“I hope they’re sincere,” he added in a message to reporters.
“Maybe this is a breakthrough. I seriously doubt it. … But, hope springs eternal,” U.S. Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats said Tuesday.
“We know Kim Jong-un, while he’s unpredictable, he’s also very calculating,” Coats remarked further. “He views possession of nuclear weapons as essential to his well being as well as the well being to his nation. He has stated that over and over. All efforts in the past have failed, and it simply bought North Korea time to achieve what they want to achieve.”
North Korea has spent decades building a nuclear arsenal, so observers are skeptical of sudden offers to give up the weapons the rogue regime has stated it will never abandon.
“I’ve seen nothing to tell me there’s sincerity in the talks that are about ready to kick off,” Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley said Tuesday, echoing Coats’ concerns.
“There is a history of them breaking every agreement they’ve ever made,” a senior White House official revealed. “We are open-minded. We look forward to hearing more. But the North Koreans have earned our skepticism.”
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