President Kim Jong-un of North Korea said the country’s military muscle including its nuclear weapons contributed to reaching an agreement with South Korea to end the military standoff on Monday.
During a meeting with Central Military Commission (CMC), Kim Jong-un said North Korea’s it is not the negating skills but nuclear weapons helped secure the deal with South Korea. Both countries reached an agreement after its negotiators engaged in day-night marathon talks in the border truce village of Panmunjom.
Kim Jong-un said the agreement “was by no means something achieved on the negotiating table, but thanks to the tremendous military muscle with the nuclear deterrent for self-defense.”
He also emphasized that Pyongyang showed its moral and strategic strength when it agreed to negotiate with Seoul. Kim Jong-un said the country’s “initiative put under control the situation that inched close to an armed conflict, thereby clearing the dark clouds of war.” He also considered the agreement a “crucial landmark occasion” that provided opportunity for both countries to move forward to enhance relations.
North Korea agreed that it would end the “semi” state of war declared last week and expressed regret over the injuries sustained by South Korean soldiers from a landmine explosion near the demilitarized zone (DMZ). North Korea denied planting the landmines on South Korea’s side of the DMZ.
On the other hand, South Korea agreed to stop its anti-North Korean propaganda loudspeaker broadcasts across the border. Pyongyang considered Seoul’s loudspeaker broadcasts as an insult to Kim Jong-un’s dignity.
North Korea will not discuss ending its nuclear weapons program
Although North Korea agreed to engage in follow-up discussions to improve diplomatic relations with South Korea, Kim Jong-un made it clear that it would not lead to any negotiation to end its nuclear weapons program, which he believes is the key to maintaining peace in the region.
North Korea had been expressing its position that it was not interested in a nuclear deal similar to the once reached by Western powers with Iran.
Last month, a spokesperson for the country’s Foreign Ministry rejected the possibility of negotiations for denuclearization and pointed out that it is illogical to compare the situations of Iran with North Korea. He added that his country would negotiate the issues of freezing or dismantling its nuclear weapons unilaterally.
The six nations that negotiated with North Korea in the past regarding its nuclear weapons program made efforts recently to encourage the isolated country to return to the table. Pyongyang did not respond. The six-party denuclearization talks had been stalled since 2008.
Robert E. Kelly of the Diplomat commented that an Iran-Like nuclear deal with North Korea is impossible because it is more isolated that Iran and its situation is significantly worse. Pyongyang feels more secured having nuclear weapons.
Kim Jong-un dismissed top officials
Kim Jong-un dismissed some of the top officials of the CMC without providing an explanation.The North Korean Supreme Leader also discussed organization issues and appointed new officials.
Meanwhile, the United States and South Korea continued its joint military exercises this week. On Friday, the allies conducted their largest-ever live, fire-drill near the town of Pochein, 15 miles south of the DMZ.
Approximately 4,000 people witnessed the drill. Using a loudspeaker, a commentator explained that the drill involves a controlled response to a provocation, preventing an invasion and countering an attack.
In an interview with CNBC News, U.S. Army Captain Jason Yu said, “We are ready to face any provocative actions coming from the North and able to defend the Republic of Korea. We are showing our joint capabilities as well as our combined assets that are available should a provocation occur.”