White House says talks with North Korea must lead to end of nuclear program
North and South Korean officials met before the closing ceremonies of the Olympic Games and representatives of the Kim regime expressed their willingness to talk to the United States about the crisis on the Korean peninsula.
But the White House issued a statement saying that no talks would begin unless there was an understanding that they would lead to an end of the North Korean nuclear program.
The North Korean delegation, in Pyeongchang for the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympics, met at an undisclosed location with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, and expressed a willingness to meet with the United States, Moon’s office said in a statement.
The Pyongyang delegation said developments in relations between the two Koreas and between North Korea and the United States should go hand in hand, according to the statement.
The Olympics gave a boost to recent engagement between the two Koreas after more than a year of sharply rising tensions over the North’s missile program and its sixth and largest nuclear test in defiance of U.N. sanctions.
The United States announced on Friday it was imposing its largest package of sanctions aimed at getting North Korea to give up its nuclear and missile programs.
On Sunday, North Korean state media accused the United States of provoking confrontation on the Korean peninsula with the sanctions.
The White House said its sanctions would continue.
“We will see if Pyongyang’s message today, that it is willing to hold talks, represents the first steps along the path to denuclearization,” the White House said in a statement.
Kim Jong-un has repeated and emphatically made it clear that North Korea would never give up its nuclear program under any circumstances. So the idea of talks is a non-starter. North Korea knew this when they made the offer to talk. Not only that, they knew the US would respond to their offer by insisting they give up their nukes. And we knew they knew what the outcome would be.
So both sides played their little diplomatic game North Korea scored some propaganda points with their targeted audience - South Korean citizens. And the US maintained their hard line on the North's nuclear program.
But Kim's broader strategy of trying to drive a wedge between the US and South Korea appears to be working. President Moon has embraced the delusional notion that the visit by North Koreans during the Olympics was some kind of breakthrough. It isn't. Kim knows that as long as he appears to be talking to the South, Trump will almost certainly not attack. It is in Moon's interests to maintain this fiction because a US attack would almost certainly see North Korea retaliate against the South, causing widespread devastation.
The US just imposed more sanctions on North Korea and there's a pretty good chance that the US Navy is going to be stopping and boarding ships carrying anything to North Korea. Since most of the ships are Chinese, Beijing is not thrilled with this plan. But Trump seems determined to halt the two faced Chinese policy where they publicly support sanctions but try to get around them surreptitiously.
All of this leads where? I doubt that the president even knows that yet.