US President Donald Trump yesterday agreed a deal allowing South Korea to have bigger missiles and new military hardware in the face of ratcheting tensions with Pyongyang.
In a call with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Trump shared the view that “it was necessary to strengthen South Korea’s defence capabilities in response to North Korea’s provocations and threats”, a statement from Seoul said.
On Wednesday despot Kim Jong-un launched a missile that flew over Japan.
Crucially, however, he has backed down from threats to launch missiles at Guam, home to a US base.
Experts said the move showed signs he is willing to negotiate.
“Kim made what appeared to be a credible threat but in reality may be an offer to place on the negotiating table a willingness to bargain away his missiles – perhaps in exchange for US recognition,” said Raymond Tanter, of the US National Interest think tank.
“Our take is that he wants Washington to treat him with respect as a leader.”
Former British charge d’affaires James Hoare agreed.
“There is no doubt Kim wants to find a way out of this, a way that allows him to save face,” he said. “Kim is not suicidal. He wants the US and the world to finally respect that North Korea is a sovereign state.
“That’s something which has never been officially recognised.”