Those declaring victory in the Russo-North Korean summit seem a little premature.
North Korea declared Saturday it would restore an inter-Korean hotline that was suspended earlier this year following a high-level exchange of angry words between the two countries.
But the de-escalation came with a caveat. It would resume talks if Seoul and Washington drop their “hostile and absurd” posture toward the hermit nation, and North Korea stops nuclear and missile tests and the “reckless” addition of a new rocket launch site to its military arsenal.
“The remaining obstacle in the way of the DPRK-South Korea rapprochement should be removed by means of dialogue and negotiation, by putting an end to hostile and absurd policies of the U.S., stopping nuclear and missile tests and withdrawing all hostile policies and nuclear threats and blackmail against the DPRK,” an editorial from the Rodong Sinmun newspaper declared.
The newspaper specifically used the terms “hostile” and “absurd” in its editorial.
The article then called on Pyongyang to re-open a hotline between the Korean leaders, which had been suspended in April after the highest-level exchange between the two nations in more than two decades.
Pyongyang also agreed to provide the South with 10,000 tons of food aid.
The editorial came as the leaders of North and South Korea met in Pyongyang for two days of talks in a bid to reduce tensions between the two countries.
“We decided to create new conditions to make joint efforts to cope with the challenges at present, seek peace and stability in the region and the world and maintain inter-Korean friendship and cooperation,” South Korean President Moon Jae-in told his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong Un, in a toast at a Pyongyang banquet Saturday.
Trump was the first world leader to be welcomed to Pyongyang by Kim, who invited him to visit the country after the summit. U.S. officials had said North Korea would have to immediately halt missile tests for negotiations to take place. The reinstatement of the hotline was seen as a recognition that Pyongyang was no longer considering a nuclear strike on the United States.
Kim was more diplomatic in a speech read by Moon that was released after the banquet, calling the meeting “a pleasant happy day” and a victory for “people and politicians.”
The leaders praised each other for the cease-fire over the weekend, and reiterated the easing of tensions between the two countries during the summit.
The summit was aimed at implementing the agreement signed during Trump’s historic summit with Kim, where the two promised to rid the Korean Peninsula of nuclear weapons.