World War 3 fears were sparked at the start of the year when Kim Jong-un delivered a stern message to the US following President Donald Trump’s effort to shut down North Korea’s ruthless regime. Retired general Jack Keane told Fox News that relations between the two countries are ultimately “stalemated” after the US failed to shut down the North Korea’s nuclear weapons operations.
Mr Keane said there had “clearly” been progress on issues such as the halting of nuclear ballistic missile testing and the return of hostages. But he warned: “No progress on the core issue – denuclearisation.
“Not a single nuclear weapon or ballistic missile has been disarmed or destroyed.”
Kim and Trump vowed to work towards denuclearisation and build a “lasting and stable” peace regime at their landmark summit in Singapore in June. But both sides have since been struggling to make progress.
When asked by Fox News host Gillian Turner whether the failure to denuclearise surprised him, Mr Keane said “no” and added: “The thing that does surprise me is that the north has not turned over our initial request of the inventory of all of their weapon sites.
“Much less, a plan to disarm them and destroy them in front of independent inspectors. So we are still, in some respects on the core issue, at the start point.”
He added: “It sounds like you are saying there is progress but not really on the issue we care about, which is ‘are they going to nuke us at some point in the near future and cause havoc and destruction around the world?’ That’s what everybody is worried about – not these peripheral visions.”
In response, Mr Keane said: “Yes, I agree with you. I think as opposed to just visiting Kim Jong-un – he wants that visit because it puts him back on the world stage.
“It helps him with his domestic audience as being a prominent world leader. Let’s not give him that. Let’s get a concession out of him that we want, like the list of all your inventory and some kind of programme before we have another visit”.
Mr Keane urged the US President to “leverage the visit” because Kim “needs it more than we want it”.
Kim Jong-un last week warned that if the US persists with sanctions then the hermit kingdom may be “be left with no choice but to consider a new way to safeguard our sovereignty and interests”.
The North Korean leader used his New Year address to increase tensions between the nation and the US.
The hermit-kingdom despot said there would be faster progress on denuclearisation if the United States took the corresponding action.
Kim insisted he is willing to meet Trump at any time to produce results the international community would welcome.
However, the North Korean leader said while his resolve for complete denuclearisation remains unchanged, he may have to seek a “new path” if the United States continues to demand unilateral action from the nation.
According to Kim, North Korea would have “no option but to explore a new path in order to protect our sovereignty” if the United States “miscalculates our people’s patience, forces something upon us and pursues sanctions and pressure without keeping a promise it made in front of the world”.
It was not clear what “new path” the North Korean leader was referring to.
Pyongyang has demanded Washington lift sanctions and declare an official end to the 1950-53 Korean War in response to its initial, unilateral steps toward denuclearisation.
The pledge for denuclearisation last year between the US and North Korea included dismantling the rogue nation’s only known nuclear testing site and a key missile engine facility.