Update: Despite the best efforts of the mainstream media (and the Chinese government) to reinforce the idea that Trump-Kim relations are going nowhere, it appears there has been progress and President Trump has just thanked Kim for his show of good faith at the nation's military parade... "This is a big and very positive statement from North Korea. Thank you To Chairman Kim. We will both prove everyone wrong! "
North Korea has just staged their parade, celebrating 70th anniversary of founding, without the customary display of nuclear missiles. Theme was peace and economic development. “Experts believe that North Korea cut out the nuclear missiles to show President Trump......— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2018
...its commitment to denuclearize.” @FoxNews This is a big and very positive statement from North Korea. Thank you To Chairman Kim. We will both prove everyone wrong! There is nothing like good dialogue from two people that like each other! Much better than before I took office.— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 9, 2018
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It increasingly looks like the Trump White House is in the driver's seat when it comes to stalled negotiations with North Korea over its nuclear weapons program.
North Korea leader Kim Jong Un has in the past days and week seemed somewhat desperate to telegraph to Trump that he is fully committed to denuclearization.
The latest such signalling is reported via Reuters early Sunday:
North Korea leader Kim Jong Un told an envoy of Chinese president Xi Jinping that North Korea is upholding the denuclearisation agreement it reached with the United States this year, China’s state broadcaster said.
Chinese parliament chief Li Zhanshu, who is in Pyongyang for celebrations marking 70 years since the founding of North Korea, was told by Kim that North Korea hopes the United States keeps to its side of the agreement, Chinese state broadcaster CCTV reported.
The Chinese envoy was present in Pyongyang to mark the 70th anniversary of North Korea's founding, which included the standard sprawling military parade; however conspicuously absent from the parade were North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), thought to be capable of hitting the United States — a clear sign that Kim is taking ongoing diplomatic efforts with the US and South Korea seriously.
CNN described the parade as "considerably understated compared to previous years" which analysts say is "to avoid antagonizing US President Donald Trump".
Li Zhanshu, Beijing’s third-ranking Communist Party official, headed the Chinese delegation on behalf of President Xi Jinping and delivered a message that there's a pressing need for North Korea and the US “to thoroughly implement the consensus ... to reach the common goal of denuclearisation”, state broadcaster China Central Television reported.
Kim stressed that his country had already taken the early agreed upon steps toward denuclearisation, and wants “the US side to take reciprocal measures to solve the Korean peninsula issues diplomatically”.
“I [also] wish to learn from the Chinese experience of economic development,” Kim was quoted as saying.
This comes after last Wednesday North Korea announced it would pursue denuclearization by the end of President Trump's first term, or by early 2021. The announcement came via South Korean President Moon Jae-in and his national security advisor Chung Eui-yong, who met with North Korea's Kim Jong Un the day prior.
Kim reportedly set down a timeline for denuclearization, the first step of which is a meeting summit between himself and the South Korean president in Pyongyang on Sept. 18-20, during which the two have pledged to discuss "practical measures" toward denuclearization.
Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims “unwavering faith in President Trump.” Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will get it done together!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 6, 2018
This included a personal "good faith" message reportedly sent from Kim to President Trump via the South Korean envoy.
Trump responded to news of the message early Thursday morning via Twitter: Kim Jong Un of North Korea proclaims “unwavering faith in President Trump.” Thank you to Chairman Kim. We will get it done together! - Trump stated.
During the historic Singapore summit in June the two leaders agreed to “work toward the complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”, but negotiations have stalled since then; however, this past week showed significant signs that progress may resume.
Kim is reported to have reaffirmed this past week in talks with the South Korean envoy “his strong will to carry out more proactive measures toward denuclearization if action is taken in response to the North’s preemptive steps.”
It appears that Sunday's ICBM-absent military parade is a first symbolic step that North Korea is indeed serious about restarting talks at the same table with the Trump White House.