United States officials claim they are still optimistic about the future of denuclearization talks after North Korea test-fired two new ballistic missiles, which it claimed were meant to warn South Korea’s “military warmongers” against new weapons development.
North Korea is claiming the tests are meant to serve as a “solemn warning” to what they called South Korea’s “military warmongers.” This was North Korea’s first missile test since President Trump and Kim Jong agreed to resume denuclearization talks last month.
A representative for North Korea said the goal was to warn against increased weapons development in South Korea, and planned military drills between South Korea and the United States.
Reports have also warned that the new missiles used by North Korea could likely reach all of South Korea, which includes more than 28,000 US forces, with little warning and little time to intercept.
It doesn’t seem to be a coincidence. This seems to be North Korea’s way of trying to make some noise, as we have National Security Advisor John Bolton meeting with South Korean officials and discussing the importance of increasing their alliance.
“The main objective we have and that I know you have is to emerge with a stronger ROK-US alliance that really has kept the peace in this part of the world for a long time and we hope will continue to do that,” Bolton said after the meetings. “So there are many challenges out there—some in this part of the world, some in other parts of the world.“
Now, it’s interesting to note that both Bolton and officials from South Korea refrained from calling North Korea out directly, and they instead used broad statements about threats to the region.
US officials have remained optimistic, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that even with the recent tests, the US plans to begin working-level talks with North Korea in “a couple of weeks.”
Pompeo said, “Everybody tries to get ready for negotiations and create leverage and create risk for the other side. We remain convinced that there’s a diplomatic way forward, a negotiated solution to this.”
It is also interesting to note that in the past, North Korea’s statements have been very aggressive toward the United States. But this week’s statement only mentioned South Korea. So there is hope that denuclearization talks still have a chance to resume with North Korea.