Nov 10, 2019

South Korea: U.S. "very actively" coaxing North Korea to return to nuclear talks

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

Chung Eui-yong, South Korea's national security adviser, said on Sunday that the United States is “very actively” trying to convince North Korea to return to negotiations ahead of an unofficial deadline for dialogue, Reuters reports.

Background: North Korea's leader Kim Jong-un warned in October that the U.S. had until year’s end to take a "substantial step to make complete and irreversible withdrawal" of its "hostile policy." Chung said South Korea is taking North Korea's deadline "very seriously."

Why it matters: North Korean officials have warned the United States not to ignore the deadline and cautioned that the likelihood of restarting talks is shrinking. A North Korean official said Pyongyang expects reciprocal steps from Washington by the end of the year, according to Reuters.

What they're saying: Chung said South Korea has created backup plans if the deadline passes without any progress.

  • “Only if talks between high-rank officials happen and lead to substantial progress, will the third North Korea-United States summit be possible,” Chung said, according to Reuters.

The big picture: Denuclearization talks between the U.S. and North Korea have stalled since a meeting in February between President Trump and Kim in Hanoi left both leaders empty-handed. Since the breakdown of talks, North Korea has carried out multiple rounds of missile tests.

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U.S., South Korea cancel joint military exercise condemned by North Korea

Mark Esper. Photo: Jung Yeon-je/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced Sunday that the U.S. and South Korea have canceled an annual joint military exercise as an "act of goodwill" in order to “keep the door open” for talks to eliminate North Korea’s nuclear weapons, according to the Associated Press.

The big picture: The U.S. and its regional allies have been trying to coax North Korea back to negotiations to eliminate its nuclear weapons and missiles since talks stalled earlier this year.

Go deeperArrowNov 17, 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.

Go deeperArrowDec 7, 2019

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