Will Bolton Nuke NK

Pyongyang gives the US an ultimatum on the nuclear conflict

If the United States does not move by the end of the year, Pyongyang will take a new course, says Kim Jong Un. Washington rejects the ultimatum.

The tone between Pyongyang and Washington is getting rougher. The American special envoy for North Korea, Stephen Biegun, described the latest North Korean statements as "hostile and unnecessary" in Seoul on Monday. He rejected the demand made by North Korea's ruler, Kim Jong Un, in April that America must move by the end of the year, otherwise his country would take a different course. "There is no such deadline for America," said Biegun. In early December, the North Korean State Department announced that the United States would soon have to decide what kind of Christmas present to receive from Pyongyang.

(6th LD) Biegun says U.S. has no deadline on nuke talks, offers to hold talks with N.K. https://t.co/vqMxextEnd

- Yonhap News Agency (@YonhapNews) December 16, 2019

The humiliated Kim Jong Un

After the failed summit with American President Donald Trump in Hanoi at the end of February, to which Kim had traveled full of hope, the North Korean leadership was in shock for weeks. It wasn't until April 12th that Kim took the initiative. In a speech at the first session of the 14th Supreme People's Assembly, he also addressed foreign policy. At the time, Kim accused the United States of “anachronistic arrogance and hostile politics”. Washington came to the negotiating table in Hanoi and only thought about "completely unrealizable measures". With the wording, Kim alluded to the fact that the American Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the then National Security Advisor John Bolton had called for the complete dismantling of nuclear weapons and the arsenal of biological and chemical weapons.

The North Korean head of state added a little over eight months ago that it will patiently wait until the end of the year to see if the United States will be able to take a bold decision. However, it will obviously be difficult to get another chance as good as in Hanoi. Kim's ultimatum to Washington is interpreted as a show of force after the humiliation in the Vietnamese capital. The message of the speech on April 12th was: Kim sets the rhythm and sets the topics.

How far the situation is between Pyongyang and Washington was revealed in late autumn during negotiations in Stockholm. At that time both sides broke off the talks without rapprochement. There is much to suggest that the North Korean delegation traveled to Sweden with a prepared declaration and was eager to sabotage the talks in order to take revenge for the disgrace that Pyongyang experienced in Hanoi.

Much anticipated New Years address

The big question is how North Korea will react if the United States does not come up with new proposals in the coming days. Will Pyongyang test ICBMs or even an atomic bomb? This move would call the United Nations Security Council onto the scene. The Chinese would then have to decide whether they would support further tightening of the sanctions or whether they would vote against it. It is an open secret that Beijing has accommodated Pyongyang economically in recent months. Eyewitnesses report that trade has increased again along the 1,400-kilometer border between China and North Korea.

Kim's New Year's address is eagerly awaited in early 2020. Earlier this year he had already stressed that his country could take a different path if the United States misjudged its patience and adhered to the sanctions and existing pressure. In Seoul, Biegun called on North Korea to return to the negotiating table. Pyongjang's behavior is not helpful for lasting peace on the Korean peninsula, he added.