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N. Korea's 'nuclear freeze' pledge seen as sign of sincerity

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ArirangNews

Arirang News

Some local experts say the North Korean regime is approaching the upcoming summit talks with South Korea and the United States with sincerity... judging by its surprise announcement that it intends to end its nuclear weapons development and won't use or transfer the technology.
That's far from a commitment to denuclearization, but it could at least mean a nuclear freeze.
Our Oh Jung-hee takes a closer look at what the regime's intentions might be.
After Friday's meeting of North Korea's main policymaking body, the regime announced... that it will not conduct additional nuclear and missile tests... and will shut down its Punggyeri nuclear test site.
It also said it won't use or transfer its nuclear weapons or technology to other countries... unless the regime is threatened.
So far, that amounts to a nuclear freeze... but not the complete abandonment of its nuclear weapons.

"It seems the North may have decided that the nuclear weapons it has now... are something to be negotiated on later."

Nonetheless, the North's announcement is seen as an important first step towards denuclearization... in that its a departure from its past behavior.
In 2008, Pyongyang destroyed a cooling tower for a nuclear reactor in Yongbyon... in return for the U.S. removing North Korea from its list of state sponsors of terrorism.
But this time, it decided to deactivate its nuclear test site without any predetermined reward.
Also, it attached no conditions to the moratorium on nuclear and missile tests,... unlike in early March... when the North said it wouldn't carry out provocations (quote) "so long as talks continue."

The recent announcement works in two ways for North Korea.
It's the first time the North has officially notified its people of an end to its nuclear development,... justifying that move by claiming that its capabilities are complete.
But at the same time, the announcement sends a signal to the outside world... that it's willing to negotiate on denuclearizing,... something that could work to its advantage in the upcoming summits.
Oh Jung-hee, Arirang News.

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