North Korean 'political survival champs' wish to swap nuke program for security guarantees - Russian expert

The North Korean National Defense Commission said on Thursday that North Korea could carry on satellite launches and nuclear tests. This means to retaliate against the United States and indicates that Pyongyang intends to exchange nuclear program concessions for security guarantees from Washington, Russian State Duma International Affairs Committee First Deputy Chairman, political expert Vyacheslav Nikonov told Interfax on Thursday.

"North Korea is true to its logic. On the one hand, it demonstrates the preparedness for building up military might, which may be used in any military scenario," he said. "On the other hand, this is a "let's talk" appeal to Washington. From the point of view of the North Korean administration, this is the optimal policy."

"They view their missile as a political trump card that may be swapped if necessary. The same is true about nuclear ambitions. North Korea said more than once that it was ready to abandon them in exchange for security guarantees," Nikonov added.

"The North Korean administration - not so much Kim Jong-un as the Politburo, the national administration backbone, people who have been in office for decades - regards itself as a political survival champion that has outlived dozens of U.S. presidents and the Soviet Union disintegration. These people think of themselves as major politicians. They are convinced that security of the North Korea, a tiny state surrounded by hostile forces, depends on its own military might," the expert said.

Pyongyang is striving for "equal negotiations" with the United States but Washington is invariably avoiding such, he noted.

"What does the North Korea administration want? It wants a conversation with "the biggest boss," i.e. the United States of America, so to rule out a strike on North Korea. The conversation had been promised to Pyongyang multiple times but never happened. It is not quite clear how security guarantees could be given. The U.S. definitely does not want to give these guarantees to Pyongyang," he remarked.

On the whole, the North Korean situation looks rather complex, Nikonov said. "The statements of Pyongyang make the situation even more complicated because no one in the world supports North Korean tests of nuclear arms delivery vehicles," the deputy said.

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