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Still, where denuclearization may be possible is if the North Korean regime gets a peace treaty to replace the armistice agreement that has been in place since the Korean War. That new agreement would have assurances to protect the Kim regime. "If the United States were to ever try to conduct regime change against North Korea, they know that the North Koreans would launch every nuclear weapon they have," said Kazianis. To be sure, the state-run North Korean media also color the threat of regime change with frequent outbursts and nationalistic messages. For example, last month when Central Intelligence Agency Director Mike Pompeo suggested that the North Korean people "would love to see" regime change the Pyongyang state-run media threatened that they could hit "the heart of the U.S." with a nuclear warhead. North Korean media also has referred to previous examples of leaders who gave up nuclear weapons. For example, a commentary last year by the state-run Korean Central News Agency said, "History proves that powerful nuclear deterrence serves as the strongest treasured sword for frustrating outsiders' aggression." At one point, Libya's Gadhafi had various weapons of mass destruction programs but decided to give them up in an agreement with the U.S. and the U.K. Less than a decade later, his 42-year regime was overthrown and he was hunted down and killed. Iraq's Saddam Hussein also was said to have a WMD program at one point too but gave it up. According to Kazianis, the Kim regime "understands the cold-blooded fact that if you do not have nuclear weapons, you are susceptible to the conventional military power of the United States.
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Seesaw US-China ties on an upswing as Trump plans trip US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson set off on Thursday for Beijing for talks with senior Chinese leaders © GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA/AFP/File / SPENCER PLATT By AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE , Washington, United States, Sep 29 – The often difficult relations between the world’s greatest powers, China and the United States, appear to be improving again as the pair work to resolve the North Korea nuclear stand-off. Washington, and in particular US President Donald Trump, have until very recently been critical of Beijing’s cautious approach to its belligerent and nuclear-armed neighbor. But, with a new round of UN-backed sanctions in place, the mood has improved, and US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson set off on Thursday for Beijing for talks with senior Chinese leaders. Tillerson was scheduled to confer this weekend with President Xi Jinping, State Councilor Yang Jiechi, who is the country’s ranking diplomat, and Foreign Minister Wang Yi. The goal of these meetings is to prepare Trump’s first visit to China as president, scheduled for November as part of a tour of Asia. “But certainly North Korea will be on the table for discussion,” Tillerson told reporters Wednesday. Washington hopes that a combination of UN and US sanctions and a strong signal from Pyongyang’s main trade partner China will convince Kim Jong-Un’s regime of its isolation. If the young autocrat then tones down his war of words with a no less provocative Trump and halts his nuclear and missile tests, he might be drawn to the table to discuss disarmament. It will be a tough diplomatic slog. But while some US officials tout a “military option” and Trump has threatened to “totally destroy” North Korea, it seems to be the only game in town. China’s cooperation, however, will be key.
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