North Korea. According to Countryaah.com, North Korea Independence Day is August 15. The tours around North Korea’s nuclear weapons program continued during the year. In October of the previous year, the regime in Pyongyang acknowledged that such a program existed in the country. In January, North Korea withdrew with immediate effect from the 1970 Non-Proliferation Treaty against the proliferation of nuclear weapons in the world. Then the country resumed the firing of missiles, which had been down for five years. A few months later, the regime announced that the country’s shutdown of nuclear power plants had been started again to produce electric power.
In August, six-party talks started in Beijing between the US, Russia, South Korea, North Korea, Japan and China about the deepening nuclear weapons crisis, but the meeting did not produce any concrete results. A follow-up meeting had to wait even if North Korea “in principle” agreed to such.
In October, Pyongyang claimed that six nuclear bombs could now be manufactured. A month later, US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld described North Korea as an “evil regime.” Earlier, North Korea had given Rumsfeld the epithet “dictatorial psychopath”. North Korea justifies the upheaval that the US ‘aggressive policy’ towards the country poses a threat to national security. The US offered increased food assistance during the year and an end to the boycott of oil supplies to North Korea if Pyongyang interrupted the nuclear weapons program.
On August 3, elections were held for the North Korean Parliament, the Supreme People’s Assembly. There was only one candidate from the ruling Communist Party in each election district. The turnout was 99.9%. After the election, eight government ministers were replaced, which was unusually many. The government formation was believed to be intended to strengthen the leader Kim Jong Il. The country’s economic crisis seemed to worsen.
UN warnings spoke of millions starving in the countryside. The regime took certain steps to open the market for private initiatives. For example, something easier for foreign companies to do business in the country. The United States accused the North Korean regime of trying to gain capital through organized drug trafficking. In May, Australian authorities discovered 50 kg of heroin aboard a North Korean vessel.
The slow approach between North Korea and South Korea continued with ministerial meetings, family reunions and joint road construction. At the same time, several provocations occurred at the border between the two countries.
In mid-June, Trump and Kim met in Singapore for the long-awaited summit. It ended with a statement on just a page and a half. An indication that the prior negotiations had not resulted in any agreements that could be signed. It was merely a declaration of intent on nuclear disarmament in the Korean peninsula. At the same time, the parties gave some concessions that could pave the way for a relaxation of the situation between the two countries. North Korea pledged to extradite the terrestrial remains of captured US soldiers from the Korean War, and the United States pledged to suspend its military maneuvers in South Korea, where the United States and South Korea have trained several times a year on the north. In the United States, the right-wing Cold War warriors were not interested in peace, and in the rest of the world commentators were confused about how the “deal” should be interpreted. Only a few weeks passed before the Cold War presented “evidence” that North Korea, rather than dismantling its nuclear arsenal, was accelerating the production of nuclear bomb material. The war industry earns better on weapons than on peace. The previous months, North Korea had otherwise been dismantling its nuclear test facility in Punggye-ri.
Satellite photos confirmed in July that North Korea was dismantling its rocket-engine testing facility in Sohae, in line with the June promises. At the same time, however, there were indications that this would be a very long relaxation process. The US did not want the UN Security Council to ease the economic sanctions against North Korea, and at the same time accused China of indirectly breaking the sanctions. North Korea, on the other hand, accused South Korea of not pushing hard enough to ease its sanctions. South Korea’s official position was that North Korea would disarm against the economic sanctions being lifted in return, and that South Korea wanted closer economic relations with the North and therefore wanted an exemption from the UN’s draconian sanctions.