Next up, Normalizing Relations with North Korea

Sheesh, this blogger has been predicting this….. THE MADNESS CONTINUES:

North Korea reportedly willing to sign peace treaty with US to end conflict

FNC: North Korea reportedly rejected the idea of resuming talks to abandon its nuclear program on Saturday, but said it would welcome negotiations for a peace treaty with Washington.

North Korea’s foreign ministry made the statement one day after President Obama and South Korean President Park Geun-hye said they were ready to open talks with Pyongyang on sanctions if they were serious about dissolving its nuclear program, according to Reuters.

“If the United States insists on taking a different path, the Korean peninsula will only see our unlimited nuclear deterrent being strengthened further,” the North said in a statement.

North and South Korea are still technically at war after signing a truce in 1953 to temporarily end their conflict. The U.S. also signed the deal after backing the South.

Obama, while meeting with Park on Friday, said Iran had been prepared to have a “serious conversation” about the possibility of giving up the pursuit of nuclear weapons. He said there’s no indication of that in North Korea’s case.

“At the point where Pyongyang says, `We’re interested in seeing relief from sanctions and improved relations, and we are prepared to have a serious conversation about denuclearization,’ it’s fair to say we’ll be right there at the table,” Obama told a joint news conference.

In a joint statement after Friday’s meeting, the U.S. and South Korea said that if North Korea decides to launch another rocket into space or test a nuclear explosion, “it will face consequences, including seeking further significant measures by the U.N. Security Council.” The statement also said they would never accept North Korea as a nuclear weapons state.

North Korea had walked away from talks involving the U.S. and four other countries in 2008 and continued to conduct nuclear tests. It claims the only way to end conflict with Washington is to sign a peace treaty.

Park’s visit Friday further strengthened South Korea’s ties with the U.S.

U.S. retains 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, and nearly 50,000 troops in Japan. Obama called the U.S.-South Korean alliance “unbreakable.” Park called it a “lynchpin” of regional security.

In August, the two Koreas threatened each other with war after two South Korean soldiers were wounded by land mines Seoul says were planted by the North. The tensions have since eased, and the two sides have agreed to resume next week reunions of Korean families divided by the Korean War.

The Obama administration has faced criticism from hawks and doves alike for a lack of high-level attention on North Korea, which estimated to have enough fissile material for between 10 and 16 nuclear weapons. More details here.

From McClatchy:

Obama said the U.S. would be willing to talk with North Korea about sanctions relief and improved relations if it agreed to give up nuclear weapons. He said there’s no indication that the government in Pyongyang can “foresee a future in which they did not possess or were not pursuing nuclear weapons.”

Citing the U.S. outreach to Cuba and the agreement to limit Iran’s ability to build nuclear weapons in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions, Obama said the U.S. is “prepared to engage nations with which we have had troubled histories.” He stressed that he and Park reaffirmed that neither country would accept North Korea as a nuclear weapon state and will insist that Pyongyang abide by its obligations.

“These are both countries that have a long history of antagonism towards the United States,” he said of Iran and North Korea. “But we were prepared to have a serious conversation with the Iranians once they showed that they were serious about the possibility of giving up the pursuit of nuclear weapons.”

Saying nothing of human rights violations, the official White House statement is here:

2015 United States-Republic of Korea Joint Statement on North Korea

On October 16, 2015, President Barack Obama of the United States of America and President Park Geun-hye of the Republic of Korea committed to the following.

The United States-Republic of Korea alliance remains committed to countering the threat to peace and security posed by North Korea’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs as well as other provocations. We will maintain our robust deterrence posture and continue to modernize our alliance and enhance our close collaboration to better respond to all forms of North Korean provocations.

The United States and the Republic of Korea share deep concern about the continued advancement of North Korea’s UN-proscribed nuclear and missile capabilities and commit to address the North Korean nuclear problem with utmost urgency and determination.

We reaffirm our commitment to our common goal, shared by the international community, to achieve the complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of North Korea in a peaceful manner. North Korea’s continuing development of its nuclear and ballistic missile programs is an ongoing violation of multiple UN Security Council resolutions and is contrary to North Korea’s commitments under the 2005 Joint Statement of the Six-Party Talks. We strongly urge North Korea to immediately and fully comply with its international obligations and commitments.

We oppose any actions by North Korea that raise tensions or violate UN Security Council resolutions. In particular, if North Korea carries out a launch using ballistic missile technology or a nuclear test, it will face consequences, including seeking further significant measures by the UN Security Council.  In this regard, we are committed to working with the international community to ensure the effective and transparent implementation of all UN Security Council resolutions, including sanctions measures, concerning North Korea, and we encourage all states to exercise strict vigilance against North Korea’s prohibited activities.

The United States and the Republic of Korea maintain no hostile policy towards North Korea and remain open to dialogue with North Korea to achieve our shared goal of denuclearization. Recognizing the common interests of our Six-Party Talks partners in the denuclearization of North Korea, we will continue to strengthen our coordination with China and the other parties in order to bring North Korea, which has refused all offers of denuclearization dialogue, back to credible and meaningful talks as soon as possible.

We reaffirm that we will never accept North Korea as a nuclear-weapon state, and that its continued pursuit of nuclear weapons is incompatible with its economic development goals. Along with the rest of the international community, we stand ready to offer a brighter future to North Korea, if North Korea demonstrates a genuine willingness to completely abandon its nuclear and ballistic missile programs, and agrees to abide by its international obligations and commitments.

The United States appreciates President Park’s tireless efforts to improve inter-Korean relations, including through repeated overtures to North Korea, and welcomes President Park’s principled approach that resulted in a peaceful resolution of the August tensions.  The United States will continue to strongly support her vision of a peacefully unified Korean Peninsula, as envisaged in her Dresden address. We will intensify high-level strategic consultations to create a favorable environment for the peaceful unification of the Korean Peninsula.

The Republic of Korea and the United States join the international community in condemning the deplorable human rights situation in North Korea as documented in the 2014 UN Commission of Inquiry report. We look forward to supporting the work of the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (Seoul). We remain dedicated to working with the international community to improve the human rights situation in North Korea and ensure accountability for human rights violations, as well as to improve the livelihood of the people in North Korea.

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