On Thursday, North Korea announced that it won’t denuclearize. Not, at least, until the United States eliminates its own nuclear threat from the entire area.

What does “denuclearization” mean, exactly? The east Asian nation published an answer via its state-run Korean Central News Agency:

The proper definition of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is completely eliminating the American nuclear threat to North Korea before eliminating our nuclear capability.

As a reminder, in June — courtesy of an official joint statement — President Trump and NK leader Kim Jong Un vowed to “work toward complete denuclearization,” among other things (here):

  1. The United States and the DPRK commit to establish new U.S.–DPRK relations in accordance with the desire of the peoples of the two countries for peace and prosperity.
  2. The United States and the DPRK will join their efforts to build a lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean Peninsula.
  3. Reaffirming the April 27, 2018 Panmunjom Declaration, the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
  4. The United States and the DPRK commit to recovering POW/MIA remains, including the immediate repatriation of those already identified.

Thursday’s comments included an insistence that the U.S. withdraw “all elements of nuclear threats from the areas of both the north and the south of Korea and also from surrounding areas from where the Korean peninsula is targeted.”

Since Trump’s inauguration, the whole North Korea episode has been somewhat bizarre. June’s much ballyhooed summit — the results of which were highly debated — was on-again, off-again (here). A month later — and just one day following two days of peace talks with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — the country called the U.S. a “gangster” (here). Also in July, satellite images appeared to show the country building intercontinental ballistic missiles (here).

Presently, the communist dictatorship wants all U.S. nuclear threat cleared not only from North and South Korea, but also the surrounding regions. The U.S. government has conversely debated whether it should require denuclearization of just North Korea or the greater peninsula.

In order for him to denuclearize, Kim Jong Un had previously called for the Trump administration to lift sanctions and officially declare the end of the Korean war.

Secretary of State Pompeo was set to meet again with North Korean official Kim Yon Chol in November, but the conference was abruptly and inexplicably called off.

However, in a Thursday interview with Kansas radio station KNSS, Pompeo was adamant that relations between the U.S. and NK are “undoubtedly” better than they were a year ago.

“No more missiles being tested, no more nuclear testing. We’re in a better place today.”

Just Wednesday, The Wall Street Journal reported Washington was considering relaxing a travel ban and allowing U.S. workers to provide humanitarian aid to the “most volatile and confrontational” country.

North Korea doesn’t exactly have a fabulous reputation of staunchly keeping its word. Therefore, dealing with Dennis Rodman’s favorite dictator is bit of a walk across a swinging bridge (here). One thing seems doubtless: with the characters of Kim and Trump at the helm of two engaged, nuclearized nations, there is much more to come.

 

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