North Korea says they reject “Libya-style denuclearization.”
Ahead of a planned summit with US President Donald Trump, North Korea is threatening to cancel the entire thing.
Planned talks between North Korea’s Communist regime and democratic South Korea for Wednesday have already been cancelled, as North Korea claimed military drills being conducted by the US and South Korea were preparations for an invasion.
South Korea had been under the impression that North Korea was fine with the drills.
According to Reuters, North Korea says that the planned talks will need to “reconsidered” if the US insists that North Korea gets rid of their nukes.
Additionally, “Citing first vice minister of foreign affairs Kim Kye Gwan, North Korea’s central news agency also said the fate of the U.S.-North Korea summit as well as bilateral relations “would be clear” if Washington speaks of a Libya-style denuclearization for the North. The statement added U.S. President Donald Trump would remain as a “failed president” if he follows in the steps of his predecessors.”
Big gamble by North Korea
This is a usual pattern from North Korea, as they make conciliatory moves, and then pull back to try and get concessions. As I’ve said before, there always has to be a lot of doubt when dealing with a communist regime. It is quite likely that there is internal disagreement within the regime, as hardliners would fear a possible peace deal, and may be trying to scuttle it.
Additionally, North Korea likely became embarrassed by all the talk of how the US was getting what they wanted without giving any concessions. Threatening the talks is a way for the North to regain a sense of initiative and power.
However, North Korea is making a big gamble. Donald Trump is far less predictable, and seems far less likely to accept the US being humiliated than previous administrations. If North Korea thinks they can play the US as they’ve played past administrations, the consequences for them – and the entire region – could be severe.
While it’s tough to predict what will happen from here, the most likely scenario is that the talks will continue at some point, even if they are temporarily delayed. The basic fundamentals of the situation remain the same: The US is far more powerful than North Korea, the regime is being pressured by their usual patron China, and their economy is a disaster. Despite the bluster, North Korea is not negotiating from a position of strength.