Ex-diplomat Thae Yong-ho: North Korea likely to limit denuclearization

By Elizabeth Shim Contact the Author   |  May 14, 2018 at 9:08 AM
share with facebook
share with twitter
Sign up for our weekly Korea Now newsletter
An exclusive report putting perspective on the week's most important developments.

May 14 (UPI) -- A high-profile North Korean defector who fled Pyongyang's embassy in London is voicing skepticism about Kim Jong Un's intent to completely denuclearize.

Thae Yong-ho, the former diplomat who kept a low profile during the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympics, told reporters in Seoul Monday the North Korean leader is more likely to opt for "sufficient, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization," rather than complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization, or CVID.

CVID is the acronym used to describe the shared policy on North Korea's nuclear weapons between the United States and South Korea.

"CVID requires mandatory inspections or random access to sites, but this would lead to the breakdown in North Korea's core system of absolute power and the downfall of the leadership through the dismantling of nuclear weapons," Thae said, according to South Korean news service No Cut News.

For this reason, it is likely North Korea will limit denuclearization and offer it in a package "wrapped in denuclearization logic."

Thae also said North Korea is unlikely to adopt a Chinese or Vietnamese model of post-communist economic reform.

Drawing an example from the shuttered Kaesong Industrial Complex, the inter-Korea factory park in the North, the defector said North Korea "politically organized" Kaesong workers, blocked outside information and banned people from moving in and out of the site.

"This is different from the Vietnamese or Chinese examples" of industrialization, Thae said.

The mood was different at South Korea's presidential Blue House on Monday.

President Moon Jae-in said at a meeting with his aides he welcomes North Korea's decision to "open the destruction of the Punggye-ri nuclear site to the international community," SP News reported.

North Korea has kept busy with political meetings in China.

Yonhap reported over the weekend high-ranking North Korean officials were meeting with Chinese Communist Party officials in Beijing.

It is a party-to-party meeting, according to the report.

White House national security adviser John Bolton said Sunday North Korea sanctions will not be eased until the full dismantlement of nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

Bolton told ABC News that could mean taken the dismantled weapons to Oak Ridge, Tenn.

U.S. President Donald Trump and Kim are to meet on June 12 in Singapore.

Related UPI Stories
Trending Stories