A successful denuclearization process for North Korea will require a step-by-step approach to dismantle the nation’s nuclear arsenal. The steps should be undertaken simultaneously and lead to the complete elimination of nuclear weapons and programs. These steps must be accompanied by verification and inspections. These are difficult and time-consuming processes, but are essential to achieve denuclearization.
The US should push North Korea to limit its nuclear and missile programs, and to agree to an end to the production of bomb fuel. These actions are necessary for the process of normalization, and Washington should do what it can to ensure that the process is successful. The US should also seek some form of sanctions relief for North Korea.
While the upcoming US-North Korea summit could be a positive step for denuclearization, it could also be a dangerous one for the United States. Before the meeting, a senior U.S. envoy should meet with the North Korean leader to ask tough questions. This is vital to avoid walking into a trap, which Pyongyang has demonstrated in the past. The North Korean leader is a skilled tactician and will not hesitate to deceive anyone.
While the first Trump-Kim summit was a historic moment, the joint statement was highly ambiguous. The joint statement was still considered a landmark, despite the ambiguity. The two leaders are scheduled to meet again in Hanoi, Vietnam, on Feb. 27-28. This second meeting will provide a crucial opportunity for denuclearization, which would be a major diplomatic achievement for the United States.
The US and North Korea are holding working-level talks on Monday. The US delegation is led by Sung Kim, who has met with North Korean officials recently. The talks are aimed at finding a solution to the lingering tensions between the two countries. The meeting is expected to help build trust and start the negotiations.
While the Swedish foreign office did not give details of the invitation, they said it was the first formal working-level meeting since June, when Presidents Trump and Kim Jong-un met for the first time. The two leaders agreed to resume negotiations. The two sides, however, walked away with wildly divergent statements.
On Tuesday, Kim and Trump are set to hold one-on-one talks. Trump is also expected to meet Singapore Prime Minister Lee Hsien-Loong. The meeting will take place in the heavily fortified demilitarized zone, but there is no official agenda.
After the Hanoi talks collapsed, Pyongyang’s munitions sector has increased. The former head of the country’s nuclear weapons and missile development programs, Ri Pyong Chol, has recently been promoted to the Presidium of the Workers’ Party, making him the third-highest official in the North Korean government. Analysts expect Pyongyang to come back to talks soon.
While working-level talks are an important step for US-North Korea relations, they will only be successful if both sides agree on a deal. Negotiators are likely to have difficulty if the North Koreans remain paranoid. That means Trump will have to make significant changes to US policy.
Achieving an agreement at the summit will be difficult, but there is still a chance that both sides will achieve significant progress. The US must change its strategy, not just try to convince Pyongyang to drop its nuclear weapons. The current strategy has failed miserably. But with Trump’s determination to make progress, there’s hope.
Kim Jong Un’s response
It isn’t clear if Kim Jong Un’s response to the U.S.-North Korea summit is a genuine sign of progress, but it’s likely to reflect a broader shift in North Korea’s policy. North Korea has long been a naysaying power, but Kim’s tone on Tuesday was much friendlier than his rhetoric in June, when he threatened to destroy Seoul’s inter-Korean liaison office if Seoul did not do more to prevent defectors from spreading leaflets. In June, Kim also labeled South Korea as an enemy and vowed to scrap the 2018 military tension reduction agreement.
Some observers believe the U.S. gave more than it got, believing that Kim would respond to questions by granting maximum sanctions relief in return for a moratorium on nuclear testing and a shutdown of Yongbyon. But the reality is less dramatic. Instead, Kim will empower teams of technical experts to meet with the U.S. and North Korean governments to hammer out a deal on the core demands of the two nations. The next round of talks won’t be dramatic, but it’s still an important step in the North Korean regime’s development.
The Trump administration seems to be in a holding pattern when it comes to North Korea. A spokesperson for the State Department told the Yonhap news agency that the U.S. is still committed to dialogue and “is open to a flexible approach” in order to reach a fair and balanced deal with North Korea.
During Trump’s first year in office, Kim continued to pressure the U.S. president to meet with him. In September 2017, North Korea tested a hydrogen bomb. After the test, Trump was furious and said he was ready to bomb North Korea back to the stone ages. In June 2018, Trump met Kim for the first time. However, the meeting didn’t produce the expected joint statement.
Trump’s ability to sell a failed summit
The US-North Korea summit was a major test of Trump’s ability to sell himself and his administration. Negotiations between adversarial states are inherently unpopular, so if the summit fails, Trump will have to sell himself even harder by selling it as a US victory. As the summit unfolded, Trump’s control over the news cycle became increasingly compromised.
In the past two summits, the US and North Korea have focused on their nuclear missile and conventional military capabilities, but this one was a failure of both. A conventional pre-summit process could have revealed an impasse and set up a mechanism for incremental progress. Instead, Kim is now in a much stronger position and Trump is going home with little to show for it. This failure could undermine a fragile sense of stability he has cultivated during his first year in office.
The US-North Korea summit was a failure because Kim rejected the US-imposed terms for complete denuclearisation. Instead, Kim wanted all international sanctions lifted in exchange for the shutdown of its Yongbyon nuclear facility. Trump, on the other hand, was not willing to lift sanctions until North Korea provides a complete inventory of its nuclear weapons and uranium enrichment sites. He also refused Kim’s demand to destroy the Yongbyon nuclear facility.
Some foreign policy experts say the summit went as expected, but that the path toward denuclearization remains uncertain. While sanctions will remain in place, the diplomatic road toward denuclearization will remain open.