08:53 GMT03 December 2020
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    After the possible change of power in South Korea this year, Pyongyang may take advantage of inter-Korean relations as a lever which could add to improving US-North Korean ties, political analyst Cho Dongjun told Sputnik.

    In an interview with Sputnik Korea, Professor Cho Dongjun of Seoul National University's Department of Political Science and International Relations said that after the 2017 presidential elections in South Korea, Pyongyang may take advantage of inter-Korean ties as a lever which could contribute to improving relations between the United States and North Korea.

    The interview came amid expectations that in the second half of 2017, relations between Washington and Pyongyang will deteriorate after Trump finally outlines his foreign policy on North Korea.

    In this vein, Professor Cho referred to North Korean leader Kim Jong-un's New Year address where he expressed hope that the new South Korean President, due to be elected in the 2017 vote, will signal a strong desire to improve Seoul-Pyongyang relations.

    According to him, after the 2017 presidential elections in South Korea, "inter-Korean ties will change significantly."

    "In light of this, North Korea has big expectations for the improvement of relations with the US, which is absolutely uninterested in living up to these expectations. So reaching a consensus on common points between the two countries will be an extremely tricky task," Cho said.

    At the same time, he drew attention to the fact that the New Year addresses by the North Korean leaders as a rule reflect their hopes and aspirations rather than objectively assess real situations.

    He added that "North Korea thinking about a favorable environment for improving the Pyongyang-Washington ties is a sign of excessive expectations aimed at provoking a strong reaction from the international community."

    "While North Korea's expectations are very high, Seoul and Washington are yet to make concessions on the matter. South Korean politicians are very much like their North Korean counterparts, who are too slow to learn lessons," Cho pointed out.

    Earlier this month, State Department spokesman John Kirby said that the United States may impose more sanctions on Pyongyang for its nuclear program.

    White House spokesperson Josh Earnest, for his part, said that the outgoing Obama Administration had advised the incoming administration of President-elect Donald Trump to work with Russia, China, South Korea and Japan to apply pressure on North Korea to stop its nuclear development activity.

    Earlier, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un claimed that Pyongyang was finalizing preparations to test an intercontinental ballistic missile.

    On September 5, North Korea launched three ballistic missiles in the direction of the Sea of Japan. Several days later, Pyongyang conducted a successful test of a nuclear warhead, which is believed to have been the fifth and largest blast since North Korea began pursuing nuclear and ballistic missile programs.

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