North Korea and a potential deal forthcoming received favorable comments from President Trump on 60 Minutes. The critical path forward by both governments is being put in place for the second round of peace denuclearization talks between President Trump and Kim Jong Un.
Progress has been made in North Korea’s self destruction of test sites and launching facilities, with negotiations on allowance of bringing in third party inspection teams to verify destruction efforts which has the remanence of 7 years ago. There has yet to be seen any permanent irreversible destruction of nuclear or ICBM facilities conceded by North Korea which would differentiate this Regime from the past in putting forth unilateral concessions that would show significant intent to denuclearize and setting the environment for guaranteeing security and peace on the Korean Peninsula by the United States.
Progress can also be viewed as a regression by the introduction of non binding nor aligned super powers of China and Russia into the dialogue of North Korea denuclearization talks with the United States. North Korea has interjecting official visits to Russia with Kim Jong Un to meet with President Putin and welcoming the Chinese President Xi Jinping to Pyongyang, North Korea for the first time after three consecutive visits to China by Kim Jong Un. Both the Russian and Chinese scheduled visits look to be prior to any second summit with President Trump and Kim Jong Un. Supplementing this intent was the recent rejection of U.S. Special Envoy Biegun who accompanied Secretary of State Pompeo in the visit to North Korea by the North Korean Special Envoy Counterpart Madam Choe Son-hui who chose to visit China and Russia instead of meeting with Biegun.
Compounding this viewpoint is the Chinese Foreign Minster Wang Yi who prior to his meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo and directly after his engagement with North Korea made the statement:
“Mr. Secretary proposed a visit to China. We are willing to meet with you. Recently, as the United States continuously escalates trade frictions with China, it has also taken a series of actions that undermine China’s rights and interests regarding Taiwan and other issues, and made groundless accusations against China’s domestic and foreign policies. We believe such practice directly impacts our mutual trust. It casts a shadow over the prospects of China-U.S. relations and completely runs against the interests of the peoples of both countries.
We ask the United States to stop these kinds of erroneous practices. We believe that China and the United States should keep adhering to the right path of cooperation and win-win, rather than falling into the wrong path of conflict and confrontation.
I know that the Secretary, during this visit also very much wants to exchange views with us on the Korean Peninsula nuclear issue, among other regional hotspot issues. This just shows that as two big countries, two permanent members of the Security Council, we indeed need and should strengthen communication and cooperation to assume the responsibilities entrusted to us by the international community. Certainly, such cooperation should be supported by a healthy and stable bilateral relationship. I hope that Mr. Secretary’s visit to Beijing this time will play a positive role in achieving this goal.” – Wang Yi, Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China, October 08, 2018
Special Envoy Biegun will be traveling to Moscow this week to discuss the situation on the Peninsula with Russian officials. This trip follows a meeting between Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov and representatives from North Korea and China. The three parties called for a lowering of sanctions against North Korea. Yet President Trump defiantly stated in his 60 Minutes interview that, “No I’m not doing it. This isn’t the Obama administration. I haven’t eased the sanctions. I haven’t done anything. I haven’t done anything.”
Collectively this leads to nothing positive or encouraging for U.S.-North Korean talks to succeed with Russian and Chinese intervention on North Korea’s position to denuclearize or more appropriately in their terms a “Nuclear Free Peninsula” which would indicate a drawdown of US Nuclear Platforms in the region. This falls into all three nations’ national security interests of North Korea, China and Russia and it elevates Kim Jong Un’s relevancy in his upcoming negotiation with President Trump.
North Korea has baulked repeatably at all and numerous requests by the United States during this negotiation for denuclearization process to list its Nuclear Weapons and numbers of ICBMs. It is acknowledged that production lines in Nuclear and ICBM capability have not stopped in North Korea, even President Trump alluded to it on 60 Minutes. At a conservative North Korea production rate of two nuclear weapons a month and two ICBM produced missiles a month, North Korea would have doubled its inventory from when it ceased testing after its successful ICBM launch on November 29, 2017 and last nuclear testing on September 3, 2017. The North Korean ICBM missiles being produced are the Hwasong-14 and Hwasong-15 ICBMs which both of had successful testing proving their capability. Having a Nuclearized North Korea coming to the end game summit with up to 100 nuclear missiles would lead to a NK strategy of having an Arms Control reduction coupled with a Nuclear Free Korean Peninsula to include the United States rather than a complete denuclearization of North Korea along with ample Nobel Peace Prizes awarded.
It is of clear relevance and in the best national security interests of the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan that Missile Defense systems be paced ahead of North Korean nuclear ICBM production in development, testing and deployment in capacity and advanced capability throughout this negotiation process. We cannot ever afford for life and liberty to be behind a North Korean Nuclear missile capacity overmatch of current Ballistic Missile Defenses that would be supported by Russia and China to reduce U.S. presence and status quo stability in the Asia Pacific Region. It is of relevance that ROK has made the public announcement yesterday of purchasing a new missile defense system. It too is of relevance that the United States be prepared and ahead of the North Korean potential breakout of 60 to 100 nuclear capable ICBM missiles if and when these talks fail.