Wednesday, February 20, 2019 | ePaper

Iran 'highly sceptical' on US-North Korea nuclear talks

  • Print
AFP, Tehran :
Iran said Monday that it remains dubious about the prospects for talks between the United States and North Korea, and warned Pyongyang to be highly vigilant about Washington's promises.
"As regards US behaviour, approach and its intentions, we are highly sceptical and look at its actions with utter pessimism," foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi told reporters in Tehran.
"For the time being we cannot be optimistic about the United States' behaviour, and the government of North Korea must approach this issue with absolute vigilance," he added.
Ghasemi said US President Donald Trump's actions in abandoning the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and other international agreements, had shown he was an unreliable partner.
"We would like peace, stability and security to be established in the Korean Peninsula," he said, but added that experience in dealing with the US and Trump had left it with "much pessimism".
Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un arrived in Singapore on Sunday for an unprecedented summit, with the US demanding complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearisation.
Meanwhile,  South Koreans are divided on generational and political lines about Tuesday's summit between the North's leader Kim Jong Un and US President Donald Trump.
Some hope for an end to Cold War confrontation and that the North will eventually give up its nuclear weapons, others are sceptical about Pyongyang's intentions-and some say they have too many economic problems of their own to pay much attention.
Lee Eun-ho, a 70-year-old worker, said the North would never give up its nuclear weapons as Kim had "developed them to hold on to power in the first place".
"I have little expectation from the summit," he said.
Reunification, he said, would be impossible because four powers-the US, China, Russia and Japan-do not want to see a unified Korea.
Choi Ho-chul, a 73-year-old former bank employee, said he doubts the North would give up nuclear weapons, which he said were a "means to control its population".
"I bet the North will not abandon nuclear weapons," he said, adding that the US and its allies should use both "carrots and sticks" to force the North to do so.  
Lee Hye-ji, a 31-year-old housewife, was "hopeful" about the Trump-Kim meeting, adding she was less interested in denuclearisation than a declaration that the Korean War was over, 65 years after hostilities stopped with a ceasefire rather than a peace treaty.
"This would bring us a step closer to reunification", she said.
Cho Sung-kwon, a 62-year-old pensioner, added: "It would be a good thing if we stop fighting."
He said his perception of Kim-a "bad guy with nuclear weapons"-had improved considerably following his two meetings with South Korean President Moon Jae-in at the border truce village of Panmunjom.
"Despite his young age, he seems to be shrewd," he said, adding that he believes Kim realises his crusade to develop a nuclear arsenal to ensure his regime's survival has "hit a dead end" under intensifying sanctions.
"I think the North will denuclearise... because it knows it has no other alternatives," he said.
He added that the South would have to provide the North with economic aid as the two were ultimately one people.
Kim Hee-hyun, 30, believes Kim has reached the conclusion that denuclearisation will be beneficial for his own prospects, but was wary about the cost of reunification.
"The South cannot simply afford to take care of the North economically", she said. "But cross-border exchanges and travels would be desirable."
Other young South Koreans said they were too preoccupied with their search for work to pay attention to diplomacy.
The country's youth unemployment rate stood at 10.7 percent in April and job-seeker Kim Tae-young-who has a bachelor's degree in engineering and new materials-said: "Frankly speaking, I have no particular feelings about the summit, but I just hope it would help ease uncertainties.
"It is hard to tell whether reunification would be a good thing, considering the huge economic burdens and wide cultural differences between the two sides," added the 27-year-old.
Lee Do-kyu, also 27 and unemployed, said the recent inter-Korean summits had raised his interest in politics, but it had waned rapidly.

More News For this Category

Pakistan PM urges talks on Kashmir blast, warns India against attack

Pakistan PM urges talks on Kashmir blast, warns India against attack

Reuters, Islamabad :Prime Minister Imran Khan said on Tuesday Pakistan was ready to cooperate with India in its investigation of a deadly bombing in the disputed Kashmir region last

Japan trial to treat spinal cord injuries with stem cells

Japan trial to treat spinal cord injuries with stem cells

AFP, Tokyo :The health ministry approved Monday the world's first clinical test in which artificially derived stem cells will be used to treat patients with spinal cord injuries.A team

IS defends final pocket of dying 'caliphate' in Syria

IS defends final pocket of dying 'caliphate' in Syria

AFP, Baghouz (Syria) :Islamic State group jihadists were defending the last pocket of their "caliphate" in Syria on Monday, as EU foreign ministers meet to discuss the crisis after

Australia says 'state actor' hacked parties, parliament

Australia says 'state actor' hacked parties, parliament

AFP, Sydney :Australia on Monday said a "sophisticated state actor" had hacked the country's main political parties and parliament, just weeks before a closely fought election.Prime Minister Scott Morrison

Russia pioneering return of 'ISIS children'

Russia pioneering return of 'ISIS children'

AFP, Moscow :As the end nears for the IS enclave in Syria and the fate of jihadists' family members becomes a prescient issue, Russia can be seen as a

`Crime may have been committed` by Trump: Ex-FBI official

`Crime may have been committed` by Trump: Ex-FBI official

AP, Washington :Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe said in an interview that aired Sunday that a "crime may have been committed" when President Donald Trump fired the head

News In Brief

Center-right to top EU poll; far-right surges: SurveyReuters, Brussels The center-right is set to remain the biggest group in the EU legislature after elections in May that should also show

Trump calls on Europe to take back IS fighters captured in Syria

Trump calls on Europe to take back IS fighters captured in Syria

AFP, Washington :European nations must take back hundreds of Islamic State group fighters captured in Syria, President Donald Trump said late Saturday, after a delay in announcing what he

Japan PM nominated Trump for Nobel after US request

Japan PM nominated Trump for Nobel after US request

AFP, Tokyo :Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe nominated US President Donald Trump for the Nobel Peace Prize last autumn after being requested to do so by Washington, a Japanese

Hundreds stranded as British airline Flybmi collapses

Hundreds stranded as British airline Flybmi collapses

AP, London :Hundreds of passengers throughout Europe have been stranded by the abrupt collapse of the British regional airline Flybmi.British Midland Regional Limited, which operates as Flybmi, said it's