Pyongyang makes threat to Trump re-election

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Pyongyang makes threat to Trump re-election

A North Korean propaganda outlet warned Saturday that Pyongyang could sabotage U.S. President Donald Trump’s bid for re-election if his administration fails to come up with a new calculus for denuclearization negotiations by the end of this year, the latest sign that the regime is losing patience with the ongoing stalemate.

The Choson Sinbo, a newspaper run by North Koreans in Japan, which is widely considered one of Pyongyang’s unofficial mouthpieces, said in an article that Trump may see the accomplishments he reached with Pyongyang “go to waste” before his run for re-election next year if Washington fails to come up with new offers for the North.

The article did not specify how it might jeopardize Trump’s attempt for a second term in the White House.

The Choson Sinbo did, however, mention that if a third North Korea-U.S. summit isn’t held within this year, then the promise North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made in Hanoi, Vietnam, during their second summit in late February — that the North wouldn’t test any nuclear weapons or intercontinental ballistic missiles — might not last.

By then, if Washington applies more sanctions on Pyongyang, there’s no way the North will ask for any more negotiations, the newspaper continued.

The next U.S. presidential election is slated for Nov. 3, 2020.

North Korean media outlets and Pyongyang officials have denounced the Trump administration numerous times since the second North-U.S. summit collapsed in February, but have not threatened to undermine Trump’s next presidential campaign before Saturday.

In the same article, the North said it won’t “move one bit” from its current stance unless the United States changes the behavior it demonstrated in Hanoi and comes forward with appropriate measures before the end of 2019.

That ultimatum was initially raised publicly by North Korean Vice Foreign Minister Choe Son-hui, who, in an interview with the North’s official Korean Central News Agency that was published earlier this month, said an “undesired consequence” lies in store if the United States fails to change its calculus and “reorganize” its stance.

The Choson Sinbo article blamed the United States for asking the North to give up all its nuclear weapons before any sanctions relief, stressing that Washington’s “stubbornness” is what ultimately led to the failure of the second summit.

“It’s groundless for [U.S.] hard-liners to claim that if [the United States] continues to press sanctions [against Pyongyang], the North will ask [the U.S. government] for their negotiations to resume,” a part of the article read.

“The main reason why North Korea entered nuclear talks with the Trump administration is because it mastered its nuclear force [development program] as a deterrent to war, not due to the U.S.-led maximum pressure campaign.”

BY LEE SUNG-EUN [lee.sungeun@joongang.co.kr]

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