And the Hermit State’s top diplomat today underlined the point by saying the nation’s aim was to build a “more reliable force” to cope with what he termed “US military threats”. North Korea’s leader Kim Jong-un has met with US President Donald Trump on three separate occasions, most recently in Hanoi last year – but attempts to persuade him to give up his nuclear arsenal appear to have stalled.
Dr Hoare, a research associate with the Japan and Korea Section at London’s School of Oriental and African Studies, told Express.co.uk the peace process had gone “very quiet”.
He added: “It’s pretty clear that the North Koreans – and this is me rather than having any particular evidence – will not give up their nuclear weapons.
“They might cap them and stop developing them, but having got this far, they are not going to say ‘Oh yes, come and take it all away, we don’t mind’.
“They are not going to give them up – but they could be persuaded, if the price is right, perhaps a peace treaty.
“But it would not be worth carrying on unless you’ve got something you can still threaten with.
“If they used it I think that would be the end of North Korea.
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“The North Koreans never really went on to a war footing and the South Koreans have got so used to living with this strange neighbour that they did not overreact and even the Americans, although there was much bluster and much noise, very typical of Trump, they did not actually do very much that amounted to the first stage of going to war.”
Speaking on the second anniversary of the first meeting between the two leaders in Singapore on June 11 and 12, 2018, North Korea’s Foreign Minister Ri Son Gwon said his country saw little point in maintaining a personal relationship between Kim Jong-un and Mr Donald Trump if Washington stuck to what he termed hostile policies.
He said: “Never again will we provide the US chief executive with another package to be used for achievements without receiving any returns.
“Nothing is more hypocritical than an empty promise.
“The US professes to be an advocate for improved relations with the DPRK, but in fact, it is hell-bent on only exacerbating the situation.”
Ri added: “The desire of the peoples of two countries to put a period to the world’s most antagonistic relations between the DPRK and the US and to open a new cooperative era of peace and prosperity runs deep as ever.
“Yet the situation on the Korean peninsula is daily taking a turn for the worse.”
Referring to the future, he warned: “The secure strategic goal of the DPRK is to build up more reliable force to cope with the long-term military threats from the US.”
Officially, North Korea is one of just eight countries in the world to possess nuclear weapons, along with the US, Russia, the UK, France, China, India and Pakistan.