Monday, 15 October, 2018

Why North Korea is eager to talk to the South

Kent Nishimura  Getty Images North America Kent Nishimura Getty Images North America
Charlie Simmons | 12 January, 2018, 06:18

President Trump told The Wall Street Journal in an interview published Thursday that "I probably have a very good relationship" with North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un, potentially opening the door to diplomacy with the rogue nation.

"I have relationships with people", Trump said in an Oval Office interview.

"You'll see that a lot with me and then all of the sudden somebody's my best friend", the president said.

Trump did not give a clear answer on whether he had already spoken with Kim - something that either elusive or deemed inconceivable in previous administrations: "I don't want to comment on it".

For that matter, how long will President Trump support North-South dialogue?

Trump has said North Korea won't be allowed to develop a nuclear missile capable of striking the United States, and has threatened war if economic sanctions and negotiations can't avert Kim's ambitions for such a weapon.

Chun, who retired 18 months ago after serving in South Korea's military for nearly 40 years, rose as high as deputy commander of the First South Korean Army, a position that also involved leading the country's special forces.

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His Twitter attacks on Kim, whom he has called "short and fat" and a maniac, are standard operating procedure on his part, he said.

Expressing skepticism that North Korea was honest in trying to improve relations, Pompeo added: "We'll just have to wait and see how the conversations go Tuesday". Gary Lynch, general manager of the Texas-based Rising S Bunkers, told Newsweek his company saw a significant increase in sales since Trump became president--especially as the stakes have risen with North Korea.

North Korea recently sat down with South Korea for their first diplomatic talks since 2015.

Trump's comments came as the first formal talks between North and South in more than two years are set to take place in a border town Tuesday; the rivals are trying to find ways to cooperate on the Winter Olympics that begin next month in the South. Tensions are high because of the North's nuclear and missile programs.

Instead, Trump tweeted, "North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un just stated that the 'Nuclear Button is on his desk at all times".

Tensions have receded dramatically on the peninsula since North and South have held high-level talks at Panmunjom, and North Korea agreed to send its athletes to the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics. Extended deterrence could also be bolstered through more visible steps such as forward deployment of land-based tactical nuclear forces into South Korea or deployment of sub-strategic nuclear forces, including nuclear-armed sea-launched cruise missiles, on U.S. submarines. The North Koreans see growing signs, reflecting President Donald Trump's "America First" principle, that the United States is prepared to accept the bad loss of lives that would result from a large-scale military conflict with North Korea.

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