North Korea Signals Desire for Sanctions Relief Even in Limited Deal

North Korean officials insisting on actions, not just words

With Trump Administration officials showing some new flexibility on the approach to North Korea nuclear negotiations, the North Korean government is still expressing annoyance at how often US talk and action don’t line up.

This may be part of a negotiating tactic by North Korea, laying the groundwork to be clear that this time they actually get some sanction relief, or something, out of the US in the negotiations, even if they just reach a partial deal.

Steve Biegun, the US negotiator, denied that the US would be willing to give any sanctions relief for half-measures, like a nuclear freeze, but they clearly are willing to offer something in return for it, and that’s likely to mean exactly what is being offered is negotiable.

The Trump Administration had previously been very clear that they were not willing to offer anything to North Korea under they get total unilateral denuclearization, something officials have admitted could take years. That years with nothing to show for it plan isn’t really working for North Korea, which is why the talks are derailed, and why the US has tried to court a new stage of talks, willing to seek a limited deal as a step in the right direction.

North Korea has learned from the first round of negotiations that if you don’t specify that you’re going to get something out of the administration, they’re fine with not giving you anything in return. That likely means that they’re going to be very careful about terms as they return to talks.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is news editor of