The North Koreans are once again getting closer to setting the conditions for deescalation since they are now saying they are willing to negotiate disarmament and not denuclearization:
North Korea reiterated on Saturday that it would not give up its nuclear weapons, rejecting a U.S. condition for talks although it said it was willing to discuss disarmament.
North Korea, in a sign of a possible end to weeks of heightened hostility on the Korean peninsula, offered the United States and South Korea a list of conditions on Thursday for talks, including the lifting of U.N. sanctions.
But the United States said it was awaiting “clear signals” that North Korea would halt its nuclear weapons activities.
“The U.S. should not think about the denuclearization on the peninsula before the world is denuclearized,” the North‘s state-run Rodong Sinmun newspaper said in a commentary.
“There may be talks between the DPRK and the U.S. for disarmament but no talks on denuclearization,” it said. North Korea’s official name is the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK).
North Korea signed a denuclearization-for-aid deal in 2005 but later backed out of that pact. It now says its nuclear arms are a “treasured sword” that it will never give up. [Reuters]
It is looking like the eventual talks will be about limiting the number of nuclear weapons the North Koreans have instead of denuclearization. First of all despite all the talk from the US and the ROK, I am sure they have known for years the North Koreans were never going to denuclearize. From the North Koreans’ perspective it makes no sense for them to give up their nuclear arms. Secondly how would the US negotiate how many nuclear weapons the North is allowed to keep without having any way to verify the extent of their nuclear program and weapons currently available? I cannot imagine the North is going to allow the IAEA in to monitor their nuclear program. So the talks will probably happen just to deescalate and maybe even a sham deal will be signed which the North Koreans will eventually break down the road which will lead to another “crisis”.