According to South Korean President Moon Jae-in, North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un remains fully committed to denuclearization, provided the United States supplies the necessary security guarantees.
North Korean media, on the other hand, declared on Monday that denuclearization will happen on Pyongyang’s “timetable,” no matter what “others may say and wherever wind may blow from.”
The wind has lately been blowing from the supposedly decommissioned Punggye-ri nuclear test site into China, prompting Beijing to let Pyongyang know that further underground nuclear detonations would not be permitted because the risk of nuclear contamination in Chinese territory was too high. It is possible these defiant editorials from North Korean state media are partially directed at China, although obviously, the primary purpose is to signal that U.S. President Donald Trump will not be calling all the shots when he and Kim hold their on-again, off-again summit in June.
North Korea’s Rodong Sinmun emphasized on Monday that Pyongyang is denuclearizing because the Workers’ Party of Korea decided to follow that “path” at the Third Plenary Meeting of its Seventh Central Committee on April 20, not because the United States and its allies forced Kim Jong-un to the negotiating table.
“The whole course of dismantling the northern nuclear test ground eloquently proves the DPRK government’s unshakable peace-loving stand to join the aspiration and efforts of the international community for a total stop to nuclear tests,” the Workers’ Party newspaper declared, referring to the shutdown of Punggye-ri.
“The DPRK’s steadfast will to join hands with the world peace-loving people in building a nuclear-free, peaceful world, a new independent world where the dream and ideal of humankind have come true, will remain unchanged in the future,” Rodong Sinmun added.
The North Korean newspaper sees the international community as “stunned” by the “bold decision” to dismantle Punggye-ri, and claimed the world is “now admiring its practice in which the transparency was fully shown.”
The world is wondering why no actual nuclear experts were allowed to witness the staged demolition of one Punggye-ri tunnel complex, and when Pyongyang will allow international inspectors to conduct a proper evaluation of the site.
Another editorial at Rodong Sinmun on Monday advised the “imperialists” not to hold their breath waiting for that level of transparency:
The imperialists become servile before the strong but outrageous before the weak.
Making a concession to the imperialists and compromising with them is little short of inviting one’s own death.
The aggressive nature of the imperialists will never change. It’s the mode of existence of the imperialists to make it their regular job to invade and plunder other countries and nations until they meet an end. If there be any change in the imperialists, it is only the method of aggression, not their nature.
Expecting any “benefit” from the imperialists, especially the U.S. while approaching them with illusions is an act of making concession in revolutionary principle and a servile act of stepping back from the anti-imperialist, anti-U.S. struggle.
The concession and retreat in the struggle against the class enemies including the imperialists mean death.
History teaches a bitter lesson that one should only resolutely fight against the imperialists, not harboring the slightest illusion about them.
Even the perpetually optimistic President Moon concedes that the U.S. and North Korea might have different ideas about what “denuclearization” means, particularly Washington’s ideas about how the process should be irreversible and verifiable. South Korean officials floated the possibility on Monday that Moon will attend the Trump-Kim summit, which they believe will still be held on June 12 in Singapore.