21:54 GMT18 May 2021
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    Reports on North Korea's new tactical weapon shows just how the Washington establishment is trying to sabotage the country's denuclearization negotiations with the US, Gregory Elich, author of "Strange Liberators: Militarism, Mayhem, and the Pursuit of Profit," told Sputnik.

    News of Pyongyang's recently developed tactical weapon bubbled up late Thursday stateside after Korean Central Television reported North Korean leader Kim Jong Un praising the work completed by officials.

    "This result today is a justification of the party's policy focused on defense science and technology, another display of our rapidly-growing defense capabilities to the whole region, and a groundbreaking change in strengthening our military's combat capabilities," Kim said, according to the Korean Central News Agency. It's unclear exactly what kind of weapon was tested.

    In response to the reports, the US Department of State stayed on course, indicating that it remains "confident that the promises made by [US] President [Donald] Trump and Chairman Kim will be fulfilled."

    ​Elich told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Friday that the tactical weapon, because it's artillery related and not nuclear, is completely "irrelevant" in regards to denuclearization talks between the US and North Korea.

    "I think the Washington establishment is grabbing at straws," Elich told hosts John Kiriakou and Walter Smolarek. "[They're doing] anything they can to try and sabotage negotiations between the US and North Korea."

    "In the case like this, it's irrelevant, but it's not portrayed as irrelevant, so they're trying to frame the whole issue of how North Korea can't be trusted. It's a complete fabrication of the issue," he added.

    Reflecting on how media reports look down upon North Korean military development, but tend to praise new gadgets unveiled by the US military, Elich told Smolarek that "the imbalance is quite extreme."

    "It is remarkable if you look at the US Department of Defense… It's a remarkable double standard," the author stressed.

    Earlier this week, on Monday, the Center for Strategic and International Studies released a report, titled, "Undeclared North Korea: The Sakkanmol Missile Operating Base." In it, reporters Joseph Bermudez, Victor Cha and Lisa Collins discuss how Sakkanmol is just one of many undeclared operational missile bases in North Korea for short-range ballistic missiles.

    "North Korea's decommissioning of the Sohae satellite launch facility, while gaining much media attention, obscures the military threat to US forces and South Korea from this and other undeclared ballistic missile bases," the report states, noting that the base is "one of the closest to the demilitarized zone," which separates North and South Korea.

    However, in Elich's eyes, this entire report is completely irrelevant, especially when one considers that the pictures it features were snapped on March 28, months before the June 12 Singapore meeting between Trump and Kim that later led to North Korea placing a moratorium on ballistic missile and nuclear weapons testing, among other concessions it would later make.

    "The Washington establishment is in a bit of a panic because, let's face it, Trump is extremely unpredictable… and they're worried that he won't stay with the program of basically imperialist confrontation and pressure, and that he might actually negotiate a peace and denuclearization agreement with North Korea that might be fair minded," he said.

    "Of course, that's not the approach that Trump is taking."

    In regards to talks of another summit between the two world leaders, Elich indicated that it "remains to be seen" what exactly might come of it.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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