The head negotiator for North Korea was back to his belligerent self on Thursday, and called the government of South Korea “ignorant and incompetent.”
North Korea is still upset that South Korea is holding joint air force exercises with the United States. When they say they want to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula what they mean is they want the United States to leave and stop working together with the South Korean military.
As part of their bluster on Thursday North Korea said that unless their demands are met they will not agree to hold peace talks with South Korea. Needless to say this has the possibility of threatening Donald Trump’s upcoming summit meeting with North Korea Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un, as well as the president’s Nobel Peace Prize.
The inflammatory remarks were made by Ri Son Gwon, chairman of North Korea’s Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Country. By setting forth new demands and threatening to call off peace talks he established a very different tone and direction for North Korea. There have been months of (apparent) lessening of tensions between the two Koreas, as well as hopeful signs that North Korea would actually denuclearize, but this all seems like a pipe dream now.
Ri severely criticized South Korea for participating in joint military exercises with the United States, which was no surprise since that has always been a sticking point in negotiations between the two countries. He also said that South Korea was at fault for allowing “human scum” to speak at its National Assembly.
The “human scum” referred to was thought to be Thae Yong Ho, a former North Korean diplomat who defected to the South in 2016 who spoke at a press conference on Monday. Thae had previously described Kim Jong-un as “impatient, impulsive, and violent.”
North Korea’s KCNA news agency on Thursday issued the following statement:
“Unless the serious situation which led to the suspension of the north-south high-level talks is settled, it will never be easy to sit face to face again with the present regime of south Korea.”
“On this opportunity, the present south Korean authorities have been clearly proven to be an ignorant and incompetent group devoid of the elementary sense of the present situation.”
On Wednesday North Korea had thrown a possible wrench into the planning for the June 12 summit between Kim Jong-un and Donald Trump. They said they would not attend the Singapore summit if the United States continued to unreasonably demand that it destroy its nuclear arsenal.
South Korean Foreign Minister Kang Kyung-wha responded by saying “It is true that there are differences of opinion between the North and the United States on methods to accomplish denuclearization.”
No matter how much Donald Trump brags and tries to take credit, he will not be able to change the nature and character of the North Korean government. He has been played for a fool by giving Kim Jong-un international stature when all along everyone knew the North Korean leader was not sincerely seeking peace and would never agree to get rid of its nuclear weapons.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.