Dec 7, 2019

North Korea: Denuclearization talks are off the table

Kim Jong-un. Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea insisted that denuclearization has "already gone out of the negotiating table" on Saturday, in a statement from the country's ambassador to the United Nations.

The big picture: Denuclearization talks between the two countries have not achieved anything concrete since President Trump and Kim Jong-un signed a four-point peace plan last year — which was vague on the process of denuclearization.

"We'll see about North Korea. I'd be surprised if North Korea acted hostilely. I have a very good relationship with Kim Jong-un. I think we both want to keep it that way. He knows I have an election coming up, I don't think he wants to interfere with that."
"The relationship is very good but, you know, there is certain hostility, there's no question about it. I don't know that his relationship with South Korea is very good, but we're going to find out."
— Trump said on Saturday when asked by reporters about North Korea's statement

Go deeper: North Korea calls U.S. position in denuclearization talks "sickening"

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Trump suggests North Korea collapsing nuclear talks is election interference

Photo: Dong-A Ilbo via Getty Images/Getty Images

In a Sunday tweet, President Trump doubled down on an argument that North Korea should not take denuclearization talks off the table — as the country stated it would on Saturday — because it could be seen as interfering in the upcoming presidential election.

What he's saying: "Kim Jong Un is too smart and has far too much to lose, everything actually, if he acts in a hostile way," Trump tweeted. "He signed a strong Denuclearization Agreement with me in Singapore. He does not want to void his special relationship with the President of the United States or interfere with the U.S. Presidential Election in November."

Go deeperArrowDec 8, 2019

North Korea conducts satellite test for second time in less than a week

North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un supervised the test firing of a new multiple rocket launcher on July 31. Photo: Jung Yeon-Je/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea said on Saturday that it carried out another satellite launch test near the Chinese border, and that the unspecified test "would help bolster the country's nuclear deterrent," the Washington Post reports.

Why it matters: The reported test was conducted Friday evening — making it the second North Korean satellite launch in less than a week, state news agency KCNA said, per Reuters

Go deeperArrowDec 14, 2019

Evidence of new work at North Korea site linked to long-range missiles

Kim Jong-un flanked by military officials, 2017. Photo: STR/AFP via Getty Images

North Korea has begun fresh work at a factory involved in the development and production of intercontinental ballistic missile launchers, per satellite images shared by Jeffrey Lewis, director of the East Asia Nonproliferation Program at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

Why it matters: Lewis said on Saturday that Pyongyang is expanding work at the March 16 Factory in Pyongsong, where North Korean leader Kim Jong-un "watched preparations" for the 2017 test of the Hwasong-15 missile, which was theoretically capable of reaching the U.S. mainland.

Go deeperArrowDec 22, 2019