A former senior North Korean diplomat who defected to South Korea in 2016 projected Wednesday that North Korean leader Kim Jong Un would not seek a second summit with U.S. President Donald Trump at an early date, arguing that Kim’s New Year’s address suggests he wants his country and the United States start their negotiations on an equal footing as nuclear-possessing states.
Thae Yong-ho, the former North Korean deputy ambassador to the United Kingdom, said at a forum hosted by a special committee of the main opposition Liberty Korea Party that Kim’s address implies his strategic intention to solidify Pyongyang’s nuclear-possessing state by narrowing the scope of U.S.-North Korea negotiations to nuclear reduction, rather than nuclear abandonment.
“My attention is drawn to (Kim Jong Un’s) remark that he would seek other ways while saying he is ready to sit with U.S. President Trump,” Thae said. “This indicates Kim Jong Un’s strong hope for a second U.S.-North Korea summit.”
“(Kim’s) New Year’s address shows that there is no change at all in his position of adhering to nuclear weapons the way he did in early 2018,” Thae said. “It was nothing but some people’s hope that Kim made up his mind to give up nuclear weapons.”
Jeong-Soo Hong firstname.lastname@example.org