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North Korea likely to harden stance toward China, US

2024-07-23 03:29:52      点击:606
Pyongyang snubs Beijing's gesture for better relations

By Yi Whan-woo

All eyes are now on what steps North Korea will take after its leader Kim Jong-un apparently refused to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping's special envoy Song Tao, and U.S. President Donald Trump re-designated the North as a state of sponsor of terrorism.

Song wrapped up his four-day visit to Pyongyang and returned home Monday. But none of North Korea's state-controlled media had reported as of Tuesday whether he met Kim.

This suggests that the young North Korean tyrant may have snubbed Xi's gesture to thaw Pyongyang-Beijing ties and accelerated the regime's international isolation amid growing U.N. Security Council sanctions.

In these circumstances, Trump's re-designation of North Korea on the U.S. list of state of sponsor Monday is expected to bring greater challenges in resuming dialogue between Pyongyang and Washington, according to experts.

Trump was initially expected to announce last week whether to put North Korea back on the blacklist for the first time since 2008, but delayed his decision.

The delay came after North Korea had refrained from any military provocations since Sept. 15, and had raised hopes that Washington, in return, may be considering resuming dialogue with Pyongyang as hinted by U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

"It is possible that Trump waited to see how Kim would react to Xi's gesture to thaw Pyongyang-Beijing ties before deciding to put North Korea back on the list of state sponsors of terrorism," an analyst said on condition of anonymity.

Kim Hyun-wook, a professor at the Korea National Diplomatic Academy, agreed, saying "Trump may have judged that efforts to bring North Korea back to the negotiating table failed when Song ended his Pyongyang visit without meeting Kim."

Cho Sung-ryul, a senior researcher at the Institute for National Security Strategy, assessed the U.S. designation of North Korea as a terrorist sponsor as "the Trump government's decision to put aside resuming talks with Kim for the time being."

Meanwhile, the South Korean government welcomed the U.S. measure against North Korea, Monday.

"It is our stance that the measure was taken in line with international cooperation to resolve the North Korea nuclear crisis through sanctions and pressure at the maximum level," said a Cheong Wa Dae official who asked not to be named "We believe it will help in promoting Pyongyang's denuclearization through peaceful means, and we're closely working with the U.S. on every level accordingly."

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said South Korea and the U.S., despite re-designation of North Korea as a state sponsor of terrorism, will remain unchanged in making efforts to bring Pyongyang to the negotiating table."

A Ministry of Unification official speculated that putting North Korea on the blacklist is not likely to affect inter-Korean relations significantly.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, claimed inter-Korean exchanges took place in the past even when North Korea was blacklisted by the U.S. for sponsoring terrorism.

"The government will not hurry, nor delay, but calmly proceed with our plan on humanitarian assistance for North Korea through international programs," the official said.

Kim Jong-un 'snubs' China in failure to repay diplomatic favour Kim Jong-un 'snubs' China in failure to repay diplomatic favour 2017-11-22 11:13  |  SCMP
Possible NK provocations

With North Korea put into corner, analysts speculated that the country may resume its military provocation and heighten tension on the Korean Peninsula again.

"It appears the U.S. and North Korea are back at the chicken game," Professor Kim said.

Some experts agreed with the National Intelligence Service (NIS), which claimed during a National Assembly briefing, Monday, that North Korea may carry out a ballistic missile test before the end of the year.

Regarding a possible seventh nuclear test, the NIS said no signs of such test had been detected at Pyongyang's nuclear test site in Punggye-ri, Hamgyong Province but warned that it could still happen at any time depending on Kim Jong-un's decision.

"North Korea can possibly refer to the U.S. re-designation of its regime on the list of state sponsors of terrorism as a reason to resume missile tests," Cho said.

Kim Yong-hyun, a professor of North Korean studies at Dongguk University, said Pyongyang may begin with "verbal provocation," adding, "It does not seem to have sorted out the technical problems associated with its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM)."

"It can't be ruled out that Pyongyang will fire an ICBM, but if it does so, it means it will be left with hardly any cards to threaten the world in the future. In this climate, North Korea will be prudent in responding to the U.S. blacklist and it may carry out provocations on a smaller scale, such as short- and medium-range ballistic missile or submarine-launched ballistic missile tests," he said.



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