North Korea Issues Blunt Statement On Denuclearization

N. Korea: We Denuclearize When US Removes Its Threat

"If we unilaterally give up our nuclear weapons without any security assurance despite being first on the U.S. list of targets for pre-emptive nuclear strikes, that wouldn't be denuclearization - it would rather be a creation of a defenseless state where the balance in nuclear strategic strength is destroyed, and the crisis of a nuclear war is brought forth", the KCNA statement said.

This comes less than a week after an editorial published in the same state-run news outlet blamed USA sanctions on North Korea for slowing down denuclearization talks.

Despite the inaction, both Washington and Pyongyang have largely stuck to the vague script agreed to at the Trump-Kim Singapore summit in June, where Kim affirmed his "unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" in exchange for American "security guarantees".

The statement's distinction of not only removing the nuclear threat from North and South Korea but the surrounding regions mirrors the reverse debate in the US on whether the strategy is focused on "denuclearization of North Korea" or "denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula". In Thursday's statement, the North made clear it's sticking to its traditional stance on denuclearization.

The United States withdrew its tactical nuclear weapons from South Korea in 1991, but continues to operate nuclear-armed bombers and submarines that can reach Korea from elsewhere.

Follow-up talks have stalled with the North insisting that US-led global sanctions against the country be removed first before any progress in denuclearisation.

The commentary states that if North Korea gives up its nuclear weapons, rather than lead to denuclearization it would render North Korea a "defenseless state" where the "balance in nuclear strategic strength is destroyed" and the "crisis of a nuclear war is brought forth".

Critics say that North Korea has made no concrete commitments and is unlikely to surrender its nuclear weapons programme, which the Kim dynasty has built for decades even as the country starved.

Although the DPRK has taken many unilateral steps toward ending its nuclear program, including the dismantling of its nuclear testing ground and parts of a missile engine test facility, along with having suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests, the United States is adamant that the DPRK must produce more unilateral proof of its intention to comply with the June 12 agreement before the U.S. will lower economic sanctions against the country, which leave it with few opportunities for global trade. - Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un have become on June 12 the first sitting United States and North Korean leaders to meet, shake hands and negotiate to end a decades-old nuclear stand-off.

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North Korean state media has credited Trump for his "willingness" to continue dialogue but has also slammed Washington for stepping up sanctions, accusing the State Department of being "bent on bringing the DPRK-U.S. relations back to the status of previous year which was marked by exchanges of fire".

Woo said the blunt statement on state media can be seen as heightened provocation from Pyongyang seeking to raise the stakes for potential second summit between Trump and Kim.

Since engaging in diplomacy, North Korea has unilaterally dismantled its nuclear testing ground and parts of a missile engine test facility and suspended nuclear and long-range missile tests.

"The corresponding measures we have asked the United States to take aren't hard for the United States to commit to and carry out".

A number of analysts had long warned after the Trump-Kim summit that North Korea had little intention of just giving up its weapons without substantial concessions in return from the United States. "We're in a better place today", he said.

Special Envoy Stephen Biegun is scheduled to visit Seoul Wednesday to discuss upcoming inter-Korean projects created to strengthen relations on the peninsula.

North Korea has repeatedly refused United States calls for it to unilaterally denuclearize, branding Washington's demands a "delusion".

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, right, and Kim Yong-chol, a North Korean senior ruling party official and former intelligence chief, in July.

The two Koreas plan to hold the ceremony at Panmun Station in the North's border town of Kaesong on December 26, amid concerns that the project could undermine worldwide sanctions imposed on the communist state.

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