Tokyo 'understands' Trump's cancelation of US-North Korea summit

Rodiano Bonacci
Mag 25, 2018

North Korea closed its nuclear test site in spectacular fashion Thursday, blasting the site in what one observer described as a "huge explosion".

Cheshire said: "By bringing South Korea and China to the table a bit more, maybe they can even get that (economic) development from them instead of the United States". North Korea claims it tested six underground nuclear devices at the facility. It confirmed the mounting suspicions of the president's aides that North Korea was not serious about the talks.

"What does it actually mean in the long term?"

Russian President Vladimir Putin said, "we took this news with regret", in reacting to Trump's announcement canceling the North Korea summit.

"If they can not come to the negotiating table, then they will enter the battlefield", Sun said.

According to Sky News Asia correspondent Tom Cheshire, who has been in North Korea to witness the dismantling of the regime's nuclear test site at Punggye-ri, Mr Kim may have achieved a lot of what he wanted anyway. Trump responds that he has a bigger and more powerful nuclear button, "and my Button works!"

North Korea's most recent test, in September of previous year, was so large that experts have speculated it may have collapsed part of the primary tunnel at Punggye-ri. Some analysts think that the explosion might have rendered the entire site unusable, but Pabian doubts that's the case.

Immediately after the test, he notes, satellite images revealed the North stepped up digging in another tunnel, the so-called West Portal.

He said: "We're going to see what happens".

Scientists recently estimated that last fall's test produced a yield between 120 and 304 kilotons of TNT equivalent - on a par with many weapons in the current US nuclear arsenal. But a few years later, when disarmament talks broke down, it restarted the reactor, using cooling water from a nearby river. In his letter to Kim calling off the meeting, Trump cited "the tremendous anger and open hostility displayed in your most recent statement". In a fiery rebuttal, North Korea blasted Pence as a "political dummy" and threatened the USA with a nuclear strike.

At an economic forum in St. Petersburg, Chinese Vice President Wang Qishan said such a summit was necessary to ensure security on the Korean peninsula, which touched on China's core interests. That quote was relayed to the press by Yoon Young-chan, a spokesman for Moon.

Mr. Trump, who considers himself a master dealmaker, has confounded aides and allies at every turn of the fateful flirtation with the North.

"There are multiple audiences they are targeting", says Lisa Collins, a Korea expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Moon urged direct talks between Trump and Kim to get things back on track.

However, letting in a smattering of foreign journalists is different from North Korea's original pledge following the April 27 summit, in which Pyongyang announced it would let in worldwide journalists as well as nuclear experts to observe the dismantling of its test site. Journalists on this week's trip report no such experts joined them for the visible gesture put on by Kim. But talks would have focused on ways of denuclearising the Korean peninsula and reducing tensions.

However it would not be surprising for Beijing to allow increased informal trade with Pyongyang, given Kim's improved relationship with Xi, and the unilateral good faith measures taken by the North that include the destruction of it nuclear test site on Thursday, the release of US prisoners, and the continued suspension of further nuclear and missile tests.

Following the summit's collapse, North Korea's vice minister, Kim Gye Gwan, said that a meeting is urgently needed to deal with the "grave hostilities" in the relationship with the United States, which is seeking to eliminate the North's nuclear program.

It instead insisted "we have the intent to sit with the U.S. side to solve problem regardless of ways at any time".

North Korea had sharply criticised suggestions by Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, and Vice President Mike Pence that it could share the fate of Libya if it did not swiftly surrender its nuclear arsenal.

Moon had been credited with creating conditions for peace by bringing the old foes on a diplomatic path, after North Korea's relentless pursuit of a nuclear-armed missile capable of hitting the United States raised fears of a fresh war on the Korean peninsula.

Collins says that she hopes the cancellation of the summit will not cause the rhetoric between the two nations to spiral. I don't think it's a weak leader.

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