Two years ago, a personal meeting between US President Donald Trump and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un gave hope for improved relations between their two nations. Now, with no progress in sight, Pyongyang doubts that it makes sense to “hold hands,” Foreign Minister Ri Son-gwon said.
The hopes of the 2018 Singapore summit “shifted into despair” and “even a slim ray of optimism for peace and prosperity on the Korean peninsula has faded away into a dark nightmare,” the minister said in a statement relayed by state news agency KCNA.
Pyongyang has offered a number of unilateral concessions to Washington, including shutting down a nuclear test site, returning the remains of American soldiers who died during the Korean War, releasing “convicted felons of US nationality,” and suspending all nuclear and missile tests, Ri said. These were all claimed by the Trump administration as diplomatic wins, but North Korea received nothing in return.
Instead, Washington continued to threaten Pyongyang with its nuclear weapons while pumping up the South Korean military with advanced offensive hardware, “burdening” its government with the “payment of an astronomical amount of money.”
With no improvements made for North Korea, “the question is whether there will be a need to keep holding hands shaken in Singapore,” the diplomat said.
Nothing is more hypocritical than an empty promise.
Ri didn’t outline any concrete policy changes that would come from Pyongyang now, but he did mention that, contrary to the US’ insistence on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, his country’s strategic goal is “to build up more reliable force to cope with the long-term military threats from the US.”
The summit in Singapore was hailed by many media outlets as a historic event, ushering in a period of detente after a time of particularly high tensions between the US and North Korea. But even at that time, skeptics pointed out that no substantive shift came from the meeting.
Washington insists on the total dismantling of North Korea’s nuclear arsenal, which is perceived by its leadership as the only thing that can deter a potential invasion by the US and its allies.
The 21st Century
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