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PacNet #16 – The Four-Party Talks: Testing Pyongyang’s Sincerity

Senior officials from North and South Korea, China, and the U.S. reassemble in Geneva on April 24th for the fifth round of Four-Party Talks aimed at replacing the existing 1953 Korean War armistice with a permanent peace treaty. The odds of a breakthrough appear slim, however, given North Korean Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Gye-gwan’s prediction after round four that the talks would remain "empty" until Pyongyang’s demands regarding the withdrawal of U.S. troops from the South are met. The U.S. and South Korea have steadfastly (and correctly) insisted that the U.S. military presence is for Washington and Seoul alone to decide, that American forces are not a bargaining chip.