Executive Intelligence Review

FROM EIR DAILY ALERT


D.P.R.K. Willing To Start Direct Talks with U.S.; Nikkei Intimates China’s Role

Feb. 26, 2018 (EIRNS)—The South Korean Presidency issued a statement saying that North Korea is willing to start direct talks with the United States, following talks on Sunday between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the head of the North Korean delegation, Kim Yong-chol, vice-chair of the Workers’ Party of Korea Central Committee.

South Korea’s presidential Blue House stated: “The North Korean delegation said that North Korea is fully willing to talk to the U.S. and agreed that North-South relations cannot be separated from North Korea-U.S. relations.”

Following the announcement of new U.S. sanctions against North Korea, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders said on Sunday, from South Korea,

“There is a brighter path available for North Korea if it chooses denuclearization. We will see if Pyongyang’s message today, that it is willing to hold talks, represents the first steps along the path to denuclearization.”

Kim Yong-chol was leading an eight-person delegation from North Korea which included officials responsible for its nuclear program and Ri Son Gwon, chairman of the Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country. At a luncheon hosted by South Korean National Security Council Chief Chung Eui-yong, on Monday, Kim had that “the door remains open for dialogue with the United States,” a senior South Korean official at the presidential office told media.

It was reported by China’s CGTN, meanwhile, that South Korean President Moon was urging the Trump Administration now to keep U.S.-R.O.K. military exercises suspended for several more months at least.

An insight into China’s important role in this break was given by Japan’s Nikkei news service in an article dated Feb. 25. Nikkei’s sources reported that U.S. Ambassador to China Terry Branstad, a long-time acquaintance of China’s President Xi Jinping, had been invited by China to make three “secret tours,” since November, of the Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, in China’s Jilin Province on the Yalu River border with North Korea. Jilin’s city of Tumen is not far from the D.P.R.K. nuclear test site in Punggye-ri.

These tours were highly unusual for any foreign diplomat in China. Through them, Nikkei reports, Branstad learned first-hand how tense the situation there is, and how the Korean population in Jilin is turning against North Korea; and a very direct signal was sent to the D.P.R.K., that China strongly wanted it to negotiate the situation directly with the United States.

China also, according to Nikkei’s sources, has assigned two very senior officials with moving the Korean Peninsula situation toward solution.

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