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Inter-Korean dialogue unlikely to happen

Ahn Jong Sik, Deputy Head, SBS Political Depatment  |  2017-08-17 15:32
In response to the South Korean government's acceptance of UNSC Resolution 2371 on sanctions against North Korea, the North Korean regime has started to aggressively criticize the Moon Jae In government. The following are phrases featured in a statement by a spokesperson for the North's National Reconciliation Council on August 7.

"The puppet government will pay the most devastating and disastrous consequences for making shameful comments that it cannot afford to do."

"The enemies who are mere colonists, are talking ridiculous words like a rat hiding in a haystack."

"The puppet government at the Blue House (the South Korean presidential residence)... are talking wild nonsense without knowing what they are doing."

"Only traitors who would present their people to the hands of foreign powers to earn trust can take such a preposterous position."

"The puppet government cannot separate themselves from the US, their superior, like a loyal dog. They are a group of lunatics who are seeking conflict among their own people..."

President Moon has not been mentioned by name, but these comments are the most aggressive criticisms by North Korea to date.

Criticisms of the Moon government intensify

Earlier in May this year when the Moon government came to power, North Korea's tone was decidedly more subdued. When the North criticized the Moon government for the first time, it was related to South Korea's response to the North's launch of the Hwasong-12 missile on May 18. The comments made at the time were as follows:

"The newly-established South Korean authorities have ignored the speculative significance of the test launch and unreasonably joined in the criticisms against us with the foreign powers." (Spokesperson for North Korea's Asia-Pacific Peace Committee, May 18)

When the North Korean Committee for the Peaceful Reunification of the Fatherland [CPRF] criticized the Moon government the first time, calling President Moon 'The leader of the South Korean government' on June, the comments made at the time were as follows:

"The leader of the South Korean government is continuously making provocative comments while pretending to seek peaceful measures in resolving inter-Korean issues."

"The leader of the South Korean government should stop making ridiculous and provocative remarks, and start to change their attitude toward inter-Korean relations." (Spokesperson for the CPRF, press conference, June 21)

The increasing condemnation by North Korea toward the Moon government is rising in tandem with the Moon government's pressure on the North. Moon emphasized dialogue with North Korea in his Berlin Doctrine speech, but he told US President Trump in a phone call that, "it is not a good time for dialogue. We should add pressure and sanctions to a maximum level so that North Korea abandons its development of nuclear weapons and missiles." The Moon government seems to have had no other option but to support pressure and sanctions against North Korea in view of the regimes intensifying provocations.

The Moon government's goal is to simultaneously seek dialogue while pursuing sanctions against North Korea, resolve the nuclear issue, and bring peace to the Korean peninsula based on the restoration of inter-Korean relations. These outcomes seem unlikely to be realized in the near future. North Korea's nuclear development has progressed significantly since the time of the Geneva Conventions in 1994 and the 9.19 Joint Statement in 2005. It appears that North Korea will soon be able to deploy an ICBM for combat engagements. It is therefore unlikely that North Korea will accept South Korea's offer to start negotiations that will lead to a nuclear freeze and eventually to nuclear disarmament.

The Moon government's strategy is to take a lead in affairs on the Korean peninsula. It now appears that the governments new objective is no longer a general framework for inter-Korean relations but to prepare for crisis on the Korean peninsula.

*Views expressed in Guest Columns do not necessarily reflects those of Daily NK.

*Translated by Yejie Kim
*Edited by Lee Farrand

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