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memri
June 6, 2018 No.
7508

Iranian Regime Mouthpiece 'Kayhan': 'Pyongyang Knows That Destroying This [Nuclear] Weapon Equals Destroying North Korea'

Tehran is closely following the developments between the U.S. and North Korea. In a May 17, 2018 editorial on the U.S.-North Korea talks, the Iranian regime mouthpiece Kayhan wrote that North Korea has no intention of getting rid of its nuclear weapons because they guarantee its security and the existence of its regime.

In its May 26, 2018 editorial Kayhan analyzed U.S. President Donald Trump's May 24 cancellation of his planned June 12 meeting with North Korea ruler Kim Jong-un, and attempted to grasp the North Korea ruler's motivations in holding the talks with the U.S. in the first place. With the view that Kim has no intention of relinquishing his country's nuclear weapons and missiles, it explained that North Korea's May 24 destruction of a number of nuclear tunnels was actually a meaningless concession, since the site was already obsolete, and that Kim's only gesture to Trump was his release of three American citizens.

The Kayhan articles openly express Iran's perception that North Korea's destruction of its nuclear weapons equals the destruction of the North Korean regime itself.  

The following are summaries of both of the Kayhan editorials on North Korea:

Kayhan, May 17: "North Korea's Life And People Depend Upon This Atomic Weapon And [Its] Military Might"

Kayhan's May 17, 2018 editorial stated: "North Korea's life and people depend upon this atomic weapon and [its] military might. Pyongyang has no doubt that without this military might it would long since have been swallowed up by America. Therefore, it is completely unreasonable that this country would agree to such a risk [i.e. nuclear disarmament] and to destroy its nuclear weapons that deter America, which is led by Trump, who easily breaks promises... Moreover, Pyongyang knows that destroying this [nuclear] weapon equals destroying North Korea..."

Kayhan, May 26: "North Korea Is Not Stupid Enough To Destroy, With Its Own Hands, The Foundations Of Its Might Against A Country Like America"

Kayhan's May 26, 2018 editorial stated: "Several days ago, North Korea leader Kim Jong-un freed several American prisoners, and, before the eyes of reporters from [across the] world blew up the tunnels that were the site of nuclear testing, thus keeping his promise. But Trump cancelled his meeting with Kim and renewed his threats that the sanctions would continue, and that the military option was still on the table...

"Sen. [Bob] Menendez criticized Trump's breaking of his promise [to meet with Kim], and noted that the breaking of this promise is a victory for Kim Jong-un, and that the world had reached the conclusion that America cannot be trusted...

"This writer believes that North Korea is not stupid enough to destroy, with its own hands, the foundations of its might against a country like America, and a leader like Trump is not crazy enough to easily give anyone privileges.

"During the past few weeks, there has been news attesting that the site that North Korea blew up on Thursday [May 24] constituted tunnels that were [already] destroyed after six well-publicized nuclear tests and that were nearly obsolete. Those who were invited to watch the explosion at that site were not experts; they were a handful of ordinary reporters who understood nothing of what took place at these three tunnels. Furthermore, none could prove that the place that was blown up was really North Korea's only nuclear test site. We must not forget that the destroyed site was just a site, not a nuclear facility or a ballistic missile or other [facility]... Thus, the only thing that North Korea did was to release the three American citizens. 

"From this perspective, Trump's cancellation of the meeting with Kim Jong-un can be analyzed. America sees a meeting with the North Korean leader as conferring a privilege upon a state that believes itself isolated. From the point of view of those dealing with the work in the White House, the pressure on Pyongyang should be maintained, because this is one of the most effective tools against it; Trump's meeting with the North Korean leader can remove its isolation and strip the White House of one of its most important tools for pressuring [North Korea]. As far as Trump is  concerned, his meeting with Kim would confer a special privilege upon North Korea, and therefore he did not agree to meet with Kim despite the fact that the tunnels had been destroyed.

"China is very important in the Korea crisis. These days, China has created, together with Russia, hegemony that challenges America; therefore, North Korea is considered to be a very important tool for China, which [China] has always used against the West. China will never willingly or easily give up its tool North Korea, particularly if the latter goes over to the American side.

"It is a false illusion that Trump will remove the sanctions against North Korea as he promised, and that North Korea will destroy its deterrent capability against America. North Korea's life depends on its ballistic missiles, powerful atom bombs, and large army... It is inconceivable that North Korea would so easily lose the only foundation of its might, and would be such easy prey for America.

"There are only three solutions for [North Korea] in the crisis in [U.S.-North Korea] relations: placate China, obtain strong guarantees from America, or become Trump's milk cow – exactly as some backward Arab countries have [as per the Iranian perspective; the reference here is to Saudi Arabia and the Gulf states].

"It is true that Kim Jong-un is young and has only begun his work. But his country has reached the highest level of nuclear knowhow and military capability. This country cannot be compared in any way to the backward Arab countries, all of which, including their armies, are mercenaries. Therefore, it does not appear that this country will submit as America expects it to.

"The JCPOA experience has shown very well that no one expects a man like Trump to keep his promises, let alone give strong guarantees. Therefore, only one option remains – China.

"Will China, a country that dreams of being a superpower and wants to challenge the American hegemony, be willing to lose such a powerful tool [as North Korea]?! The answer is clear.

"Perhaps Kim is conducting these talks with another aim, and not for the reasons stated – for example, to challenge America and to declare that America is breaking its promise and cannot be trusted. What helps Kim achieve this goal is that a man like Trump [is president].

"If we look at the commentary in the media after Trump broke his promise and cancelled his meeting with Kim, we will see that, as Richard Haass, Nancy Pelosi, and Sen. Menendez said yesterday, North Korea has triumphed over America, and the world has concluded that [America] cannot be trusted."