N. Korea prioritizes security guarantee more than sanctions: think tank chief

By Yonhap
  • Published : Jul 17, 2019 - 11:43
  • Updated : Jul 17, 2019 - 11:43

North Korea seems to consider a security guarantee more important than sanctions relief in its denuclearization negotiations with the United States, a Seoul-based think tank chief has said.

Lim Kang-taeg, head of the state-run Korea Institute for National Unification, made the remark during a meeting with reporters Tuesday, saying Pyongyang seems to have changed its strategy to bring the security guarantee issue to the forefront after the collapse of the Hanoi summit between its leader Kim Jong-un and US President Donald Trump in Feb. 

Lim Kang-taeg, head of the state-run Korea Institute for National Unification (Yonhap)

"North Korea will try to create the mood to lift sanctions, but it won't do it at the cost of giving up or sacrificing something important," Lim told reporters in Washington.

The highly expected second summit between Trump and Kim ended without a deal as they failed to find common ground over the scope of the North's denuclearization steps and Washington's sanctions relief.

Since the summit breakdown, their negotiations have been suspended.

The two leaders agreed to resume the negotiations in mid-July after holding a surprise meeting at the inter-Korean border village of Panmunjom on June 30, but Pyongyang said on Tuesday it will decide whether to open the working-level talks later on, urging Washington to suspend its planned joint military drills with South Korea.

An expert on the North Korean economy, Lim said the sanctions do not seem to be playing a big enough role to push the current situation to a decisive moment as of now.

"Yet, if the North's economy really worsens with prolonged sanctions in the long term, they could become a factor causing the instability of the regime," Lim added. (Yonhap)