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2020 Outlook for U.S.-North Korea relations
Updated: 2020-01-06 16:13:43 KST
North Korea has not crossed the 'red line' yet.
It has not declared an end to its talks with the U.S. and did not explicitly say it will resume its nuclear and ICBM tests.
But analysts say the prospects for North Korea-U.S. nuclear negotiations aren't so bright this year.

Through its ruling party central committee meeting, the North has said that it won't return to negotiations until the U.S. withdraws what it calls its hostile policies.
"Hostile policies" could mean a lot of things, but definitely included among them are the sanctions.
This is a higher bar for the talks than before the North wants sanctions relief in exchange for taking part in the negotiations themselves rather than actual steps toward denuclearization.

But U.S. President Donald Trump apparently doubts North Korea will start testing nuclear weapons again.
On Sunday, he repeated his previous comments that he does not think Kim Jong-un will break his promise about denuclearization. But this time, he also conceded that he might, adding that "maybe he will."
President Trump was speaking onboard Air Force One on his way back to Washington from Florida.
Trump had also previously said during his stay in Florida that he believes Kim Jong-un will honor his commitments on denuclearization.

"He did sign a contract. He did sign an agreement talking about denuclearization. And that was signed. Number one sentence, denuclearization. That was done in Singapore. I think he's a man of his word. So, we're going to find out. But I think he's a man of his word."

Analysts say Trump's remarks may contain a warning.

"On the one hand, Trump's remarks show his expectations for Kim Jong-un, that he will keep his denuclearization commitments. On the other hand, there may be a warning to North Korea that if it chooses force, the U.S. will respond with stronger sanctions."

Analysts think if circumstances are left as they are, then tensions could rise again on the Korean Peninsula.
A critical point could come in March.
If there aren't any developments before the Seoul-Washington joint military drills begin in late February, experts agree, it would be difficult for U.S.-North Korea relations to take a positive turn.
Kim Jae-hee, Arirang News.
Reporter : jhee@arirang.com