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South Korean politicians, experts anticipate fiery U.S.-North Korea negotiations

SEOUL, March 8 (UPI) — South Korea’s liberal politicians have welcomed North Korea and the United States’ willingness to hold talks, while conservative lawmakers and experts have responded with caution, deeming it too early for celebrations.

After a South Korean envoy announced that U.S. President Trump accepted Kim Jong Un’s invitation to discuss denuclearization, ruling Democratic Party Chairwoman Choo Mi-ae welcomed the move on Friday, saying that the issue of establishing peace on the Korean Peninsula is at the focus of the international community.

She urged all political blocs to come together to seize the opportunity to make peace, Dailian reported.

Minor liberal Party for Democracy and Peace also expressed hope that the current mood for dialogue between Washington and Pyongyang will continue and bring about denuclearization and peace on the Peninsula.

While conservative parties also welcomed the progress in U.S.-North relations, they
Main opposition Liberty Korea Party Floor Leader Kim Sung-tae also welcomed the progress in U.S.-North relations. However, he said it is “too early to break open the champagne.”

Chairman Hong Jun-pyo showed stronger skepticism, saying that the development is “nothing new.”

He said the international community cannot be satisfied with the temporary freezing of the North’s nuclear and missile development, stressing that settling for anything less than full denuclearization would be a “national catastrophe.”

Minor opposition Bareunmirae Party Chairman Yoo Seung-min lauded the move towards dialogue on denuclearization but warned that Seoul should maintain its policy to push for the full dismantlement of the North’s nuke and missile program and to continue its pressure and sanctions.

“If talks between the U.S. President and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un don’t lead to a clear development in denuclearization, the situation would move in a pessimistic direction,” Yoo said, during a party meeting.

Trump reportedly said he would like to hold talks with Pyongyang by May. North Korea experts in Seoul anticipate a heated negotiation.

Professor Kim Joon-hyung of Handong University told Yonhap the U.S. is unlikely to settle for the postponement of nuclear and missile testing while the North Korea may insist a moratorium is enough.

“The North would lose all its cards if it denuclearizes so it is likely to negotiate with its current nuclear weapons on the table and keep its nuclear stockpile from the past until it feels safe,” Kim said.

“We will have to wait and see whether the North reveals a step-by-step procedure to dismantle its nuclear program and how the U.S. will request a complete and verifiable denuclearization,” said Professor Yang Moo-jin of the University of North Korean Studies.

Trump tweeted late Thursday local time that “great progress is being made” but sanctions on North Korea would remain in tact until an agreement is reached.

Kim Jong Un talked about denuclearization with the South Korean Representatives, not just a freeze. Also, no missile testing by North Korea during this period of time. Great progress being made but sanctions will remain until an agreement is reached. Meeting being planned!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 9, 2018

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