What Can Be Done for a Nuclear Deal with North Korea?

13 March, 2018, 04:25 | Author: Brenda Erickson
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"It is expected that there will be more rapid progress regarding the freezing and dismantling of the North Korean nuclear program than in the past, as the leaders of the US and North Korea will meet directly this time", he said. It will certainly capture headlines (and take a few away from Stormy Daniels), but will it really change anything? "It seems highly unlikely that (Kim) would surrender the nuclear weapons program that has brought him to this point".

But Trump also appears to have earned what seem like major concessions from Kim, and it all comes down to the USA president's credibility as a madman.

In the world of nuclear strategy and regime survival, smart actors act on worst-case assumptions. Kim is reportedly open to giving up his country's development of weapons of mass destruction, but it is not yet clear exactly what he would request in return.

Mr Kim's overture last week, coming months after engaging in a fiery war of words with Mr Trump and the North making strides in its ballistic missile and nuclear programmes, set off a flurry of diplomatic activity as officials continue to decipher whether Pyongyang is genuine in its intent.

"Like it or not, Donald Trump's policy has been remarkably successful - so far, at least", the director of Korea Risk Group, Andrei Lankov, wrote in the North Korea analysis website NK News, responding to the recently announced Trump-Kim summit.

"It never occurred to us that such a decision would be made at this time", a high-ranking Foreign Ministry official was quoted as saying, alluding to what was described as "shockwaves reverberating in Tokyo". North Korea will freeze and then dismantle its nuclear program.

It is unclear what the US government might offer in return. Tokyo's foreign minister said Japan would work closely with Seoul and Washington on denuclearizing the Korean Peninsula calling the situation a near "miracle". The latter include Singapore and Malaysia, and now increasingly India, Vietnam and Indonesia.

Through all this, China was little more than an observer.

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Second, we should recognize that the relationship that truly matters in Asia is that between the two dominant Pacific powers: China and the U.S. We need a coherent, thoughtful, long-term strategic approach for dealing with China that encompasses - but is not dominated by - the North Korean issue.

North Korean workers assemble jackets at a factory of a South Korean-owned company at the jointly-run Kaesong Industrial Complex, in Kaesong, North Korea, on December 19, 2013.

The U.S. and the South Korea are also discussing how to conduct upcoming military drills in a way that won't provoke Kim, whose regime views the exercises as a rehearsal for war.

Many Democrats as well as Mr Trump's fellow Republicans said the United States should have demanded concessions before granting North Korea a meeting.

The U.S. side has dropped its condition that North Korea take real measures to end its nuclear program before talks can begin. Six-party talks can cover a vastly greater range of issues.

Tillerson's remarks that these things take time contrast with Trump's on-the-spot acceptance of Kim's invitation when South Korea's national security adviser informed him about it at the White House last week.

Mr Trump can not enter into talks with Mr Kim without deciding ahead of time what his own bottom line is.


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