US says North Korea coverage stays unchanged after nuclear comment raises eyebrows

Folks watch a TV broadcast exhibiting a file picture of a North Korean missile launch at Seoul Station on October 28, 2022 in Seoul, South Korea. North Korea fired two short-range ballistic missiles (SRBMs) in direction of the East Sea on Friday, the South Korean navy stated, as Seoul’s main navy drill neared its finish.

Chung Sung-jun | Getty Photographs Information | Getty Photographs

The USA stated on Friday its coverage on North Korea had not modified after a senior US nuclear coverage official raised his eyebrows as he stated Washington could be prepared to start out talks. on arms management with Pyongyang.

Some consultants say recognizing North Korea as a nuclear-weapon state, which Pyongyang needs, is a prerequisite for such talks. However Washington has lengthy argued that North Korea’s nuclear program is prohibited and topic to UN sanctions.

Bonnie Jenkins, the State Division’s undersecretary for arms management, was requested at a nuclear convention in Washington on Thursday how a lot North Korea ought to be handled as an arms management problem.

“In the event that they needed to have a dialog with us…arms management can all the time be an possibility when you have two nations prepared to sit down down on the desk and discuss,” she replied.

“And never simply arms management, however threat discount – every little thing main as much as a conventional arms management treaty and all of the completely different points of arms management that we are able to have with them. We made it very clear to the DPRK…that we’re prepared to speak to them – we’ve got no preconditions,” she stated, referring to North Korea by the initials of its official identify.

Referring to North Korean chief Kim Jong Un, she added: “If he picks up the cellphone and says, ‘I need to speak about arms management,’ we’re not going to say no. I feel we would slightly need to discover what meaning.”

The USA and its allies worry that North Korea is about to renew nuclear bomb testing for the primary time since 2017, which might be very unwelcome for the Biden administration forward of the midterm elections within the nation. starting of subsequent month. North Korea has rejected US calls to renew talks.

Requested about Jenkins’ remark, State Division spokesman Ned Value stated, “I need to be very clear about this. There was no change in American coverage.”

Value stated the US coverage remained “the whole denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” whereas including, “we proceed to be open to diplomacy with the DPRK, we proceed to achieve out to the DPRK, we’re dedicated to pursue a diplomatic method”. stand prepared to satisfy with out preconditions and name on the DPRK to have interaction in critical and sustained diplomacy.”

“Kim Jong Un’s Lure”

Talking Friday on the similar nuclear coverage convention Jenkins addressed, Alexandra Bell, one other senior State Division arms management official, additionally careworn that there have been no modifications. in American politics.

When requested if it was time to simply accept North Korea as a nuclear state, she replied: “Other than, we’re dedicated to the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula. We don’t settle for North Korea with this standing. However we’re curious about having a dialog with the North Koreans.”

Daniel Russel, the highest US diplomat for East Asia beneath then-President Barack Obama and now with the Asia Society, instructed Reuters that Jenkins had “fallen straight into Kim Jong Un’s entice. ” together with his remarks.

“To recommend that North Korea simply has to comply with have a dialog with the US on arms management and threat discount is a horrible mistake, as a result of it shifts the query of Korea’s proper from North of possessing nuclear weapons to the query of what number of she ought to have and the way they’re used,” he stated.

“Kim would love nothing higher than to advance his threat discount agenda – the withdrawal of US troops from Korea.”

Different consultants performed down Jenkins’ remarks.

Daryl Kimball, govt director of the US-based Arms Management Affiliation, stated she was not making a press release recognizing North Korea as a nuclear-weapon state beneath the worldwide non-proliferation treaty. .

“She acknowledged, like different officers in different administrations, that North Korea possesses nuclear weapons, however in violation of its commitments beneath the NPT to not search nuclear weapons,” he stated. at Reuters.

Kimball and Toby Dalton, a nuclear knowledgeable from the Carnegie Endowment for Worldwide Peace, which hosted the nuclear convention, stated they didn’t see formal recognition as a nuclear-weapon state as a prerequisite within the arms management talks. Dalton stated Jenkins appeared to basically reaffirm the US place that he was prepared to speak to Pyongyang with out preconditions.