South Korea predicted that North Korea would look to open negotiations with the United States next year, Reuters reports.
“North Korea will seek negotiation with the United States while continuing to pursue its effort to be recognized as a de facto nuclear-possessing country,” South Korea’s Unification Ministry said but did not offer reasons for the conclusion.
Meanwhile, South Korea’s Ministry of Defense said that it would assign four units to operate under a new official overseeing North Korea policy, aimed to deter and respond to Pyongyang’s nuclear and missile threat. South Korea’s Unification Ministry believes that the North would eventually find ways to blunt the effects of the sanctions. According to an unnamed South Korean government official, Pyongyang could also be preparing to launch a satellite into space.
Last week, the United Nations’ Security Council imposed tougher sanctions on reclusive North Korea because of its recent intercontinental ballistic missile test. Pyongyang said that was an economic blockade and an act of war.
U.S. diplomats said that they are seeking a diplomatic solution, but President Donald Trump derided talks as useless. He emphasized that North Korea must commit to giving up its nuclear weapons before beginning any kind of talks. At the same time, Pyongyang said that the U.S. was afraid of its nuclear force and was getting “more and more frenzied in the moves to impose the harshest-ever sanctions and pressure on our country”.
Meanwhile, China released customs data to prove that it has not exported oil products to North Korea and it did not import iron ore, coal or lead from North Korea in November. China is the North’s lone major ally.
Beijing and Moscow supported the latest UN sanctions which seek to limit the access that North Korea has to refined petroleum products and crude oil and its earnings from workers abroad.