North Korea’s offer to denuclearize may be nothing more than an offer to rerun an old familiar movie.
From AP News:
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has finally broken his silence on what he plans to bring to the table during his summits with the South Korean and U.S. presidents, and it doesn’t have a whole lot to do with tossing out his hard-won nuclear arsenal.
Instead, Kim appears to be maneuvering toward his own big “get” — the chance to sit down with President Donald Trump on an essentially equal basis as the head of a nuclear-armed nation. The end of North Korea’s nuclear program, meanwhile, isn’t looking any closer than it was before.
Ending weeks of ominous silence from Pyongyang, Kim laid out the new strategy at a meeting Friday of his ruling party’s Central Committee that suspends underground nuclear tests and test-launches of intercontinental ballistic missiles. He also said the country’s nuclear test site at Punggye-ri, already believed to be essentially inoperable, will be closed and “dismantled.”
North Korea for decades has been pushing a concept of denuclearization that bears no resemblance to the American definition, vowing to keep pursuing nuclear development unless Washington offers ironclad guarantees of its security and removes its nearly 30,000 troops from the Korean Peninsula.
This time around, Kim seems to be more flexible than he had been previously regarding the troops. His latest statement also echoed Pyongyang’s hope for security assurances and for the day when the world will have no nuclear weapons.
But it also unapologetically stressed that his country is now a nuclear power, and the message between the lines is that the United States should simply accept that and treat him as an equal. […]
“Kim Jong Un just said, in effect, that North Korea is an arrived nuclear power and he will give up nukes when the rest of the world does,” said Joshua Pollack, a senior research associate with the Middlebury Institute of International Studies. “I sense that Kim Jong Un’s commitment to denuclearization has been greatly oversold.”