another triumph for the donald & his diplomacy

NK Demanded That Pindostan Remove Weapons From Guam & Hawaii
Tyler Durden, Zero Hedge, Mar 22 2019

The February summit between Pres Trump and Pres Kim Jong Un of NK broke down in part over NK’s insistence that Pindostan remove the strategic nuclear umbrella and the dismantling of the Indian Pacific Command, according to SK’s DongA, citing the CIA’s former Korea Mission Center Chief Andrew Kim.

Speaking at a lecture of the Stanford University alumni conference in Seoul on Mar 20, Kim added that NK boxtops demanded that they be allowed to develop weapons that can be deployed on the Korean Peninsula. They have also requested sanctions relief. Kim said that NK has not been able to elaborate on specific steps to denuclearize during negotiations between representatives, and that NK’s envoy Kim Hyeok-Cheol would not commit to anything, not even using the word “denuclearization.” When pressed for specific demands for sanctions relief, NK demanded that foreigners be allowed to resume tours in the Mount Kumgang region in NK, as well as the “special economic zone” of Kaesong, a border town with SK which at one point employed over 50,000 NK workers. In 2016, the SK Ministry of Unification shut down the joint industrial venture after suggesting it was a source of hard currency to bankroll NK’s nuclear program. Meanwhile, the relationship between NK and SK has continued to deteriorate, as NK is withdrawing from a join liaison office near the DMZ, according to CNN.

The move comes after Pindostan slapped two Chinese firms with sanctions for doing business with Pyongyang, the first action taken by Faschingstein against NK since the second summit between Pres Kim Jong Un and Pres Trump in Hanoi ended early with no agreement. SK’s Unification Ministry announced the move Friday, saying the decision had been taken by NK on instructions from higher authority. In its communication with SK, Pyongyang said it would not mind Seoul’s representatives remaining in the office, which is based in Kaesong, a part of NK near the de facto border between the two countries.

SK’s Vice Minister of Unification Chun Hae-sung said at a Friday press conference:

We regard such a withdrawal as very sad and unfortunate (and) we hope that NK will return shortly and hope that the liaison contact office will operate normally as soon as possible.

Last Friday, Pompeo insisted that NK is keeping open the possibility of continued talks after reports from Pyongyang’s deputy foreign minister that they may walk away from negotiations completely. Following the Hanoi summit, Pindostan and SK canceled major war games on the Korean Peninsula in order to “support diplomatic efforts” with Pyongyang.

Trump orders withdrawal of fresh NK-related sanctions announced earlier by Treasury, Mar 22 2019

Sarah Sanders did not elaborate on exactly which sanctions Trump had in mind, yet provided the reasoning behind the move.

Pres Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary.

On Thursday, Treasury blacklisted two shipping companies, based in China, which have been accused of violating the embargo against NK. The companies have allegedly been engaging in “deceptive practices” to help Pyongyang procure some goods, yet the Treasury did not elaborate on what exactly these goods are. While Trump’s decision might contribute a bit to easing tensions, it is not a meaningful step towards sustainable peace on the Korean Peninsula, Eric Sirotkin, co-founder of the Lawyers for Peace and Demilitarization in Korea, believes. Sirotkin told RT:

Sanctions are an obstacle to peace. You can pull back the sanctions on Monday and you can return the sanctions on Wednesday if you need to.

The batch of sanctions imposed on Thursday had apparently triggered a reaction in NK, which walked out of a liaison office near the DMZ that it has shared with SK since last September. Pyongyang did not make it clear that the move came in response to the Pindo sanctions. SK’s Unification Ministry simply said the NK boxtops had followed “instructions from higher authority.”

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