Thursday, December 20, 2018

Washington's Two-Faced Approach to North Korea

Given the heavy news coverage that North Korea - United States summit received in the mainstream media back in June 2018 and the visit of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in October 2018 and the supposed progress that was made in the quest to put an end to North Korea's nuclear aspirations, one might almost think that the deal between the two nations was signed, sealed and delivered.  As you will see in this posting, recent news from North Korea that received almost no traction in the mainstream media strongly suggests otherwise.

Here are quotes from a commentary entitled "Does U.S. Feel Ashamed of Itself for Approaching DPRK with Two Faces" by Jong Hyon which appeared on the website of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the DPRK in late October 2018:

"What is recently heard from the U.S. over the Korean issue makes the world people confused.

On one hand it is advertised that U.S. Secretary of State Pompeo’s Pyongyang visit made a “great achievement” desired by the U.S. and, on the other hand, the “sustained sanction” unpleasant to the ear is heard so much.

Heard from election campaign venues of the U.S. are such voices that it has a very good relationship with north Korea and there is no threat at present, though the former was going to war with the latter in the past. Whereas it is heard from news conference and other places that sanctions should be sustained until north Korea does something and there is no consideration of lifting the sanctions.

The U.S. Department of State stated that the visit to Pyongyang was very productive and successful and what was discussed with the DPRK was a “great progress, ” showing a desire to have technical talks at an early date. On the other hand, it contended that the U.S. constant stand is “denuclearization first and easing of sanctions next”, forcing the south Korean authorities not to accelerate the north-south cooperation and urging Southeast Asian and European countries to intensify the cooperation in putting pressure upon the DPRK.

The U.S. consented to the outstanding issues and the concerns of the DPRK in Pyongyang, but denied the consensus later. It “voiced full support” for the improvement of inter-Korean relations at the Singapore summit, but now checks the inter-Korean cooperation, claiming that “it is impossible without the consent from the U.S.”

Lack of logic in the words and deeds of the U.S. only causes a doubt.

Which of the two faces of the U.S. is true, smiling or abrupt?

Does the U.S. really want to improve its relationship with the DPRK or does it have some other intention?

We wonder whether the U.S. administration suffers from psychological confusion under the weight of some political pressure and irritation at home.

Of course, we are aware of the “embarrassing situation” and “awkward position” of the White House with the November mid-term election of U.S. Congress just ahead.

We are well aware that the political situation of the U.S. is very complicated and this makes it difficult for the administration to make a decision and push ahead with it.

Due to those who insist on “hard line” against their will and set themselves against Trump’s policy, the U.S. political climate is on the verge of disaster." (my bold)

It is interesting that even North Korea's leadership realizes the political and personal strains facing Donald Trump and his administration over the ongoing Mueller investigation and the fact that the Trump Administration seems to have a revolving cast of characters.

Let's go back to the commentary:  

"If what Americans said in Pyongyang is utterly different from what they said in Washington and if their remarks are entirely different from what they think of, the tower of mutual confidence built with much effort will become futile like building the tower with eggs.

It seems that the U.S. regards the negotiations with the DPRK not as the ones for putting an end to the history of hostility and distrust lingering century after century and for establishing the new relations of trust but as a black-hearted kiss.  

The whole world hailed the meeting of the top leaders of the two countries in Singapore as an “epochal meeting” and a “meeting changing history”. It was because the world thought that the U.S. finally dropped the strong-arm policy and opted for dialogue and negotiations.

Americans gave applause to the measures of goodwill taken by the DPRK but now cry out for constantly brandishing the club of pressure. It is hard to discern what is true and what is false in their language.

Even at a time when the DPRK-U.S. talks were proceeding in an amicable atmosphere in Pyongyang, Americans at home openly cried out for not dropping the club of “pressure”, asserting “pressure” is the main card for tackling the issue.

It seems that they failed to sense the on-going situation.

That’s why the international community comments that the U.S. is not interested in the give-and-take-style negotiations but only hopes that the DPRK would be pressurized into surrender, and that the U.S. is just short-sighted to see the far-reaching development as it too deeply sticks to denuclearization.

A bird flies with its two wings, but the U.S., with its wings furled, only urges the DPRK to fly. The U.S. may be just called a dishonest man who likes receiving, not giving anything, and the DPRK doing it favors in return for nothing can be called a great man. The international community is sneering at the U.S. like this.

But the U.S., due to its half-done double-dealing way of thinking and behavior, fails to discern what is big and what is small, and even lost the senses of proportion and balance in the quagmire of confusion in the goal and means.

It seems that Americans have just come to be ignorant of what goals they seek — global peace and stability or sanctions and pressure–, being at the end of their tether due to their fierce internal dispute.

We do not want good will and generosity of the U.S. but urge it to act in the elementary give-and-take principle.

The DPRK holds that the DPRK-U.S. relations can be improved only when they are based on mutual confidence, but the U.S. insists that the bilateral relations can be improved through tightened sanctions and pressure. There is no need to question whose assertion is right.

Koreans dislike and hate duplicity and two-faced behavior.

The U.S. should deal with the DPRK with sincerity, instead of depending on double-dealing tactics.

And it had better look on the successful future with soft face, not looking back upon the failed past with black face." (my bolds)

There is no doubt that the commentary by Jong Hyon represents the agenda of North Korea's leadership and there is no doubt that North Korea's leadership is growing weary with the imposition of American-led sanctions and the slow progress of negotiations that are being driven by the U.S.-agenda for the Korean Peninsula.

Apparently, Washington didn't get the message back in October.  On December 10th, 2018, the United States Department of the Treasury announced the following:

You will notice that these three North Korean government officials were sanctioned for the following reasons:

1.) brutal state-sponsored censorship activities

2.) human rights violations and abuses

3.) other abuses in order to suppress and control the population

The Treasury Department notes that these sanctions "demonstrate the United States' ongoing support for freedom of expression and opposition to endemic censorship and human rights violations".  I guess that Treasury Department officials failed to see that the raison d'ĂȘtre for the imposition of these additional sanctions against North Korea are pretty much "business as usual" in Saudi Arabia.  Even more interestingly, the sanctions against Choe Ryong Hae, the Vice Chairman of the State Affairs Commission, Korean Worker's Party Vice Chairman and Politburo Presidium member just happens to be the gentleman who is in charge of negotiations with the United States!

As if all of this weren't enough, here is a recent very pointed news item from North Korea's official news agency, the Korean Central News Agency:

Here are some key excerpts from the actual statement which was written by the policy research director of the Institute for American Studies of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which appeared on the DPRK's Ministry of Foreign Affairs website:

"It is a significant event for ensuring peace and security of the region and beyond that the top leaders of the DPRK and the U.S. committed themselves to improve the DPRK-U.S. relations at the historic DPRK-U.S. summit held in Singapore last June, and the current DPRK-U.S. relations are advancing along the steadfast will of the top leaders to follow through on the Singapore DPRK-U.S. Joint Statement in good faith.

However, the continued commission by the United States of vicious anti-DPRK hostile actions, running counter to these developments, prompts my shock and indignation.

During the past six months since the Singapore DPRK-U.S. summit, the U.S. high-ranking politicians including the secretary of state have almost every day slandered the DPRK out of sheer malice, and the State Department and the Treasury Department have taken anti-DPRK sanctions measures for as many as eight times against the companies, individuals and ships of not only the DPRK but also Russia, China and other third countries by fabricating pretexts of all hues such as money laundering, illegal transactions through ship-to-ship transfer and cyber-attack.

Recently, the U.S. is resorting to anti-DPRK human rights plot in such a way that it carries deliberate provocation by adding high-ranking government officials of the DPRK, a sovereign state, to its unilateral sanctions list, while taking issue with the non-existent “human rights issue”." (my bold)

While there is some validity to the issue of human rights in North Korea, as I noted above, some of Washington's best friends around the world have their own human rights issues,.

Here's what North Korea sees as the major problem:

"Now, the international society is unanimous in welcoming the proactive denuclearization steps taken by the DPRK and urging the U.S. to respond to these steps in a corresponding manner. And president Trump avails himself of every possible occasion to state his willingness to improve DPRK-U.S. relations.

Far from the statements of the president, the State Department is instead bent on bringing the DPRK-U.S. relations back to the status of last year which was marked by exchanges of fire. I cannot help but throw doubt on the ulterior motive of the State Department." (my bold)

You will observe that North Korea treading carefully by not blaming Donald Trump for the most recent round of sanctions, rather, they are pinning the blame on the "diplomats" at the Department of State.

Let's close with North Korea's solution to the problem and a grim warning:

"Since we know too well that the deep-rooted hostility between the DPRK and the U.S. cannot be redressed overnight, we have been proposing that the DPRK-U.S. relations be improved on a step-by-step approach of resolving what is feasible one by one, by giving priority to confidence building.

If the high-ranking politicians within the U.S. administration including the State Department had calculated that they could drive us into giving up nuclear weapons by way of increasing the anti-DPRK sanctions and pressure and human rights racket to an unprecedented level, which has nothing to do with confidence building, it will count as greatest miscalculation, and it will block the path to denuclearization on the Korean peninsula forever – a result desired by no one." (my bold)

If you are interested, you can read the statement in its entirety here.  

If Washington doesn't get its act together, the window of opportunity for a permanent peace on the Korean Peninsula could evaporate, leaving in its wake a nuclear nightmare.  But then again, given how often Washington goes back on its word in the international arena, why should these developments surprise anyone?

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