‘Possibility of a Great Breakthrough': Korean Peace Talks Depend on US Approach

© REUTERS / The Presidential Blue House/YonhapNorth Korean leader Kim Jong Un greets Chung Eui-yong, head of the presidential National Security Office, in Pyongyang, North Korea, March 6, 2018
North Korean leader Kim Jong Un greets Chung Eui-yong, head of the presidential National Security Office, in Pyongyang, North Korea, March 6, 2018 - Sputnik International
On Tuesday, it was revealed that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un informed a South Korean envoy that he was willing to discuss scrapping his nuclear program if the US was also willing to make some security guarantees.

"The North Korean side clearly stated its willingness to denuclearize," a statement from the office of South Korean President Moon Jae-in noted. "It made it clear that it would have no reason to keep nuclear weapons if the military threat to the North was eliminated and its security guaranteed."

The two-day talks in Pyongyang also yielded an agreement to hold a summit in late April that would include both Kim and Moon, according to reports.


​Speaking to Sputnik Radio's Loud & Clear, Simone Chun, a fellow at the Korea Policy Institute and a member of the Korean Peace Network, and Tim Shorrock, a Washington-based investigative journalist and author of "Spies for Hire: The Secret World of Outsourced Intelligence," discussed the recent breakthrough on the Korean Peninsula.

"My take was first elation," Shorrock told show hosts Brian Becker and John Kiriakou. "I'm so happy they reached this agreement and I also felt a very strong admiration for President Moon Jae-in of South Korea for really pressing this peace agenda through the last year and during the Olympics, in many case against the objections of the United States."

The Central Square, named after Korea's found Kim Il Seng, in Pyongyang. File photo - Sputnik International
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"I think [Moon] deserves a lot of credit for putting this together, but I think the agreement we're hearing from the South Korean diplomats… is similar to what we've heard North Korea say before. For years they've been saying they're willing to negotiate with the United States if the US dropped its hostile policy — hostile policy meaning being threatened by the US with nuclear weapons and economic sanctions," he added.

Chun told Becker that the agreement was a "major, major diplomatic breakthrough."

"If you look at the Korean reaction… people are saying peace is coming… there is also the huge, outpouring of ‘thank you' notes to President Moon Jae-in," Chun told Becker. "North Korea is putting everything on the table," she said.

"I foresaw this coming — but not the scope of the North Korean agreement. All things considered, I think that the deal has been perfect and that we should also give some credit to North Korea as well," Chun said. "This is the first time that Kim Jong-un is making an international debut as a leader… it really shows that North Korea's nuclear weapons had a truly defensive purpose."

"This is awesome and I hope that the United States takes this very, very seriously."

North Korea's leader Kim Jong-Un looks out towards Kim Il-Sung square during a mass military parade in Pyongyang on October 10, 2015 - Sputnik International
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At the end of the day, however, Shorrock noted that the rocky relationship between North Korea and the US all depends on how the Land of the Free decides to act moving forward.

"I think we have the possibility of a great breakthrough here, but it really depends on what the US does and who [US President Donald] Trump appoints to take part in these negotiations and what kind of actions the US takes while talks are underway," he told the Kiriakou.

As this article was going to publication, Heather Nauert, spokesperson for the US State Department, announced that the US would be imposing new sanctions on North Korea for using a chemical agent to kill Kim Jong-nam, the North Korean leader's half-brother.

North Korea has repeatedly rejected accusations that it played a role in Kim's death. It is unclear how this announcement will affect future talks with the US.

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