Anti-Imperialism/Foreign Policy

Keith Preston: Why North Koreans want to have economic sanctions lifted

Press TV. Listen here.

American political analyst Keith Preston says the North Koreans want to have international economic sanctions lifted against them to follow the Chinese model of economic progress.

Preston, chief editor of, made the remarks in an interview with Press TV on Thursday while commenting on a statement of US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley who said on Wednesday that Washington would not wait indefinitely for North Korea to make progress on denuclearization.

“This is all in North Korea’s court… They have to understand that the international community still expects them to denuclearize and so we’re willing to wait if they want to wait, but we’re not willing to wait for too long,” Haley said in comments carried by Reuters.

“It’s going to be a long process, we knew this wasn’t going to happen overnight. We have to see denuclearization and we’re not going to stop until we get it.”

Haley’s comments come about two months after the summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12.

Trump has declared North Korea an “unusual and extraordinary threat” to US national security as he acted to maintain harsh economic sanctions against Pyongyang, despite the historic summit with Kim.

Preston said that “certainly the North Koreans would be very hard-pressed to give up their nuclear weapons unless there was a serious reason for it. And I think that will only happen if certain concessions are made.”

“Certainly lifting the sanctions against North Korea would be the first thing. I think North Korea certainly is not going to give up its nuclear weapons unless the international sanctions against North Korea are lifted,” he stated.

“Secondly, I think the withdrawal of American troops from South Korea probably would be another condition,” he said.

North Korea has long demanded US troops be removed from the Korean peninsula as part of a nuclear deal, but the US has been at pains to stress the issue is not a bargaining chip. The US has about 28,500 service members stationed in South Korea.

Trump said at a press conference following the June 12 summit with the North Korean leader that the United States was stopping “very provocative” and expensive military exercises with South Korea to facilitate denuclearization negotiations with North Korea.

The United States and South Korea hold regular military drills to the fury of North Korea, which has long seen the drills as preparations to invade it.

North Koreans want to go in the direction of China

Preston said, “In terms of what is North Korea is long-term strategy is, I feel that North Koreans want to go in the direction of China.”

“China in recent decades has liberalized the economy and it has become the world’s strongest economic power after the United States. And that has been partly due the reform that has been made since 1979 when Deng Xiaoping introduced economic reforms,” he added.

“North Korea appears to have observed the Chinese model and… wants to emulate that model. And to pursue that kind of direction North Korea has to have the sanctions lifted against it,” he stated.

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