On 21 May 2021, the United States and South Korea held a summit in Washington. Amongst the major takeaways, there were two important policy decisions that were worth noticing. One was the decision to give diplomacy yet another chance in dealing with Pyongyang. The other was the American decision to go away with the capping on the missiles in Seoul. These two did not seem to be following a similar trajectory of thought process. There were many speculations regarding the response of North Korea to the summit.
Pyongyang responded to the policy decisions taken by the two in a harsh manner. The major source of concern was the uplifting of a limit on the number of missiles for Seoul. Pyongyang warned against an arms race. The response came through a state sponsored media channel. It described the lifting of missile guidelines as “apparently deliberate and hostile”. South Korea was under guidelines since 1979 that obligated it to refrain from the development of ballistic missiles which had a range of more than 800 km. The US justified the decision by the need of a capable deterrence potential in place for defence against North Korea. South Korea has been working on building a substantial defence capability especially for its protection against North Korea.
US President Biden appointed a special envoy to engage with North Korea in dialogue and stated that he was ready to take pragmatic steps with South Korean President Moon Jai-in to improve the conditions. However he did specify that he was willing to meet the North Korean Leader only under “right conditions”.
North Korea has explicitly stated that the American hostel policy will result into an unstable and acute situation. The Independent reported that Kim Myong Chol , the commentator of a North Korean media agency expressed his concern about the American intentions of creating “asymmetric balance in the Korean Peninsula”.
An official statement from the Government of Pyongyang is expected soon. But the tone of the views published by the media agency hints the mood of the country. US in the past insisted on the denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula. However, this step has irked the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea once again. In the past, Pyongyang accused America of having double standards and a general hostile approach towards it. Despite agreeing to negotiations during Former President Trump’s era, there has hardly been any progress on the front. In fact Pyongyang continues to test its missiles on occasions to display its disregard for the norms order. However, there are many experts who suggest that the absence of a statement from a proper official channel gives some hope for the possibility of diplomatic exchanges.