North Korea nuclear arsenal too developed to destroy quickly, says Moon

South Korea's President Moon Jae-In delivers a statement during the 19th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Republic of Korea Summit in Manila
South Korea's President Moon Jae-In delivers a statement during the 19th Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-Republic of Korea Summit on the sidelines of the 31st ASEAN Summit and Related summits at the Philippine International Convention Center (PICC) in Manila, Philippines November 13, 2017. REUTERS/Noel Celis/Pool

November 14, 2017

By Christine Kim

SEOUL (Reuters) – South Korean President Moon Jae-in said on Tuesday it would not be easy for reclusive North Korea to destroy its nuclear arsenal quickly, even if wanted to, given its weapons programs were so developed.

North Korea is under heavy international pressure to end its weapons programs, pursued in defiance of U.N. Security Council resolutions. But it has vowed never to give up its nuclear arsenal.

Speaking to reporters in the Philippines, Moon said that if North Korea agreed to hold talks, negotiations could be held with all options open.

“If talks begin to resolve the North Korea nuclear issue, I feel it will be realistically difficult for North Korea to completely destroy its nuclear capabilities when their nuclear and missile arsenal are at a developed stage,” Moon said in a briefing.

“If so, North Korea’s nuclear program should be suspended, and negotiations could go on to pursue complete denuclearization.”

Moon’s remarks were made available by the presidential Blue House.

Last week, the North said it did not oppose dialogue, but would “never put the issue related to the supreme interests of the DPRK and security of its people on the bargaining table”.

“We are not interested in such dialogue and negotiations in the least,” the North’s official news agency said, referring to the country by its official name, the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.

The North defends the programs as a necessary defense against U.S. plans to invade. The United States, which has 28,500 troops in South Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean war, denies any such intention.

U.S. President Donald Trump has traded insults and threats with North Korean leader Kim Jong Un as North Korea races toward its goal of developing a nuclear-tipped missile capable of reaching the United States.

Trump threatened in his maiden U.N. address to “totally destroy” North Korea if the United States was threatened and has said the time for talking, the policy of previous U.S. administrations, is over.

Moon reiterated his stance that now was the time to increase pressure on North Korea so that it would come to talks.

He said differences in understanding between South Korea and China, North Korea’s lone major ally, regarding the deployment of the U.S. Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system on South Koran soil had not been resolved.

“China has not said it has changed its stance to agree to THAAD and still says THAAD infringes on its security. We have, in turn, explained THAAD is not aimed at China but only toward curbing North Korea’s nuclear and missile provocations,” he said.

Last month, South Korea and China agreed to end a year-long standoff over THAAD which had seen South Korean companies doing business in China suffer from retaliation against the system’s deployment.

(Reporting by Christine Kim; Editing by Nick Macfie)

6 Comments on "North Korea nuclear arsenal too developed to destroy quickly, says Moon"

  1. With all due respect, President Moon…all that needs to be done is to disable the current plants producing weapons grade plutonium and the delivery system. Everything else can be done over time. Meanwhile, I’ve had thoughts to consider giving NorKor a glimpse of what may be if they cooperated but I believe that is a pipe dream at this time.

  2. Varangian Guard | November 14, 2017 at 7:40 am |

    All the NORK’s have to do is slip up. DoD will do the dismantling for them. It would be completed very quickly, size of their arsenal is no object. Ours is bigger.

  3. Yeah… I call Bullshipt

  4. Like all of the left, Moon is delusional. There is no reason to believe talks, even if NK was willing They neverhave worked. There’s only one thing the Dear Leader understands and respects: military force. Not putting on a show of power as the US and Japan are doing now, but actual use. Only military force, and his perception that the US is ready and willing to use it, will move him.

    • nfcapitalist | November 14, 2017 at 7:07 am |

      Must be nerve wracking living next to a potential radioactive hole in the ground… I really do feel pity on them and our military on the peninsula… should’ve listened to that corn-cob pipe smoking General who wanted to end it in 1951.

  5. Christine Kim, another hater and fool that uses every excuse to take a personal whack at our President.

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