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Pyongyang Warns Again on “Byungjin” Revival

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Apparently concerned that Washington is not taking its warnings seriously, Pyongyang has conveyed through an article in Choson Sinbo, the pro-North Korean newspaper in Japan, what it hopes will be read as a sober exegesis of its recent public criticism of the US. With a Pyongyang byline, the piece was authored by Kim Ji Yong, a reliable interpreter of DPRK policy pronouncements whose articles are often used by the North to put in plain language signals that it sometimes veils in confounding obscurity.

Citing the US State Department, the Choson Sinbo piece acknowledged that a trip to New York for “high-level talks” by DPRK chief negotiator Kim Yong Chol, scheduled for November 8, had been “postponed.” It obscured the fact that the North had asked for the postponement, asserting, “There are different interpretations of what is in the background.” It carefully did not rule out high-level talks in the future proceeding “without interruption in line with expectations and demands of both sides,” but waved a warning flag that this progress would need to be based on an understanding that the “premise established for the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula is the implementation of the most rational and most fair phased simultaneous action principle.” The article also gingerly raised that possibility of the North hanging back on a second Trump-Kim summit, implicitly arguing that if the US does not take “credible measures” to address North Korean “concerns” in high-level talks, the summit could be delayed.

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