SEOUL: How North Korea will spend this month will be reflected in regime leader Kim Jong-un’s 2020 New Year’s address, a key indicator of the North’s policies.
Once a new strategic direction is set by the ruler, it cannot be altered by lower officials, given the North’s inflexible structural characteristics.
“It is crucial that North Korea’s nuclear issue enters into the process of resolution through negotiations in December, ” said Kim at a forum hosted by the Kwanhoon Club, a group of senior journalists.
Talks between Washington and Pyongyang have been stalled for two months with the year-end deadline set by the North for the US to take a flexible approach towards denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula drawing near.
In mid-November, US Special Representative for North Korea Stephen Biegun called the deadline artificial.“But it’s a deadline they’ve set upon themselves, ” he said.
However, the US and South Korea have been working to bring the North back to the negotiating table.
The latest effort was a decision to skip their annual joint air exercise.
“President Moon Jae-in suggested pursuing mutual security guarantees and banning hostile acts during the negotiations.
“Recently, the US has proposed measures for stable situation management, ” Kim said.
Commenting on inter-Korean issues, Kim said that the 2018 agreement reached at a Moon-Kim summit to normalise their joint Kumgangsan tourism project is still valid.
In October, Pyongyang notified Seoul that its leader ordered the removal of “hideous” South Korean-built facilities from the Kumgangsan mountain resort area, where the two Koreas once operated a tourism programme together, saying the North planned to transform the site into a modern tourism zone. — The Korea Herald/ANN