'Kim Jong-un exposed weakness in recent speech'

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'Kim Jong-un exposed weakness in recent speech'

By Lee Min-hyung

Thae Yong-ho
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made a strategic mistake by indirectly acknowledging in his recent speech his regime is vulnerable to tough economic sanctions, Thae Yong-ho, a former North Korean diplomat who defected to the South, said.

The analysis came in response to Kim's administrative policy speech last week when he expressed discontent over the failed summit with United States President Donald Trump in Hanoi. Kim said the regime would no longer stick to dialogue with the U.S. for sanctions relief.

"Kim acknowledged that the North made the tactical blunder in that it exposed weakness by strongly demanding sanctions relief in Hanoi," Thae said on his blog, Sunday.

The North's young dictator will hold a summit with Trump or South Korean President Moon Jae-in only when Kim can recognize their shifted stance in denuclearization negotiations, according to Thae.

During the speech, however, Kim also left open the possibility of holding the third summit with Trump no later than the end of this year.

"Kim will not hold the third summit in the first half of this year, as he fixed the timeline to before the end of this year," Thae said. He added that Kim would not be in a hurry to attend the summit.

"Kim aims to show that Trump is in a vulnerable position in terms of a longer-term race in nuclear negotiations, as he has to engage in the 2020 re-election campaign," Thae said.

He also said the North Korean leader appears to have been deeply concerned about how he has to manage domestic affairs following the breakdown of February summit.

Pyongyang's foreign ministry had not released any official statements even more than a month after the failed nuclear negotiations with Trump, showing the regime carried out thorough internal discussions to deal with the aftermath of the summit, according to Thae.

By Lee Min-hyung

Thae Yong-ho
North Korean leader Kim Jong-un made a strategic mistake by indirectly acknowledging in his recent speech his regime is vulnerable to tough economic sanctions, Thae Yong-ho, a former North Korean diplomat who defected to the South, said.

The analysis came in response to Kim's administrative policy speech last week when he expressed discontent over the failed summit with United States President Donald Trump in Hanoi. Kim said the regime would no longer stick to dialogue with the U.S. for sanctions relief.

"Kim acknowledged that the North made the tactical blunder in that it exposed weakness by strongly demanding sanctions relief in Hanoi," Thae said on his blog, Sunday.

The North's young dictator will hold a summit with Trump or South Korean President Moon Jae-in only when Kim can recognize their shifted stance in denuclearization negotiations, according to Thae.

During the speech, however, Kim also left open the possibility of holding the third summit with Trump no later than the end of this year.

"Kim will not hold the third summit in the first half of this year, as he fixed the timeline to before the end of this year," Thae said. He added that Kim would not be in a hurry to attend the summit.

"Kim aims to show that Trump is in a vulnerable position in terms of a longer-term race in nuclear negotiations, as he has to engage in the 2020 re-election campaign," Thae said.

He also said the North Korean leader appears to have been deeply concerned about how he has to manage domestic affairs following the breakdown of February summit.

Pyongyang's foreign ministry had not released any official statements even more than a month after the failed nuclear negotiations with Trump, showing the regime carried out thorough internal discussions to deal with the aftermath of the summit, according to Thae.

Lee Min-hyung mhlee@koreatimes.co.kr


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