US-North Korea Relations: South Korea Tries to Save the ‘Sinking Boat’
Over the time, the US-North Korea relations have grown politically hostile and have largely been influenced by North Korea’s nuclear program. Its development of long-range missiles is considered a huge threat by the US. Even in the wake of the global crisis, North Korea is quite sure that it has no intention to reconcile with the US and has urged its neighbouring South Korea to “stop meddling” in its affairs.
The warning by North Korean foreign ministry official came on Tuesday, when a US envoy was due to visit Seoul to renew nuclear talks with Pyongyang. Kwon Jong Gun accused South Korea of misinterpreting Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son Hui’s earlier statements, indicating of another summit between North Korean leader Kim Jung-un and US President Donald Trump before the US elections in November.
In reality, Choe’s statement stated that North Korea does not feel the need for a new summit. Choe’s stance was “as clear as day”, but was misapprehended by the South Korean officials.
Dismissing the entire idea of a summit as an “untimely rumour”, Kwon Jong Gun said, “Explicitly speaking once again, we have no intention to sit face to face with the US”. The US-North Korea relations significantly worsened in 2017, when it was concluded that North Korea’s nuclear weapons program have been developing at a faster rate.
The US’ aggressive approach in handling North Korea sparked a wave of conflict. The US wanted Pyongyang to first agree to give up its entire nuclear weapons program in exchange of easing off the sanctions on the import and export of goods. Besides the rising tensions, both the sides held working-level talks in last October, however, since then North Korea has refused to hold any dialogue.
US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, who previously tried to negotiate talks with North Korea, was due to visit Seoul late on Tuesday to revive the negotiations. A week before, he also stated that there is time for both the sides to re-engage and “make substantial progress,” but the COVID-19 crisis could make it difficult for the summit to happen.
The US-North Korea relations were expected to improve with the meetings between the leaders of both the countries. However, the discussion between both the leaders calling for a joint statement for security, stability and peace ended abruptly without an agreement.
In view of all the failed meetings in the past and South Korea’s involvement in trying to improve the US-North Korea relations, Kwon Jong Gun said, “It is just the time for it to stop meddling in others’ affairs but it seems there is no cure or prescription for its bad habit.”
For some time now, the relations between both South Korea and North Korea are constantly degrading. Last month, North Korea before suspending plans for unspecified military actions, blew up a joint liaison office just on its side of the border. Under such circumstances, South Korea’s efforts in improving US-North Korea relations wouldn’t be considered a wise decision. Meanwhile, the US hasn’t commented on the subject of a new summit with North Korea.
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