As most Americans know, On June 12th this year President Trump went to North Korea for the first summit meeting between the leaders of the United States of America and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea. A large outcome of the meeting came from Leader Kim who had apparently, as Trump stated in a Tweet, “agreed to allow Nuclear inspections, subject to final negotiations, and to permanently dismantle a test site and launch pad in the presence of international experts.” Since the historic meeting, further denuclearization progress have remained stalled. No real forward progress has been made, but since the summit negotiations between the US and North Korea has stirred up. One question remains, will offers from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un be enough to convince the U.S. to meet his demands?
Following the meeting on Wednesday, Kim didn’t commit to giving up the country’s entire arsenal of nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, but he did promise to dismantle North Korea’s main rocket launch site and offered to eliminate the Nyongbyon nuclear site. This location is vital to progress as it’s a main site for a plutonium reactor and a uranium enrichment facility that can produce fissile material for atomic bombs. An elimination of the site doesn’t reduce the arsenal size but it would slow down further progress or possibly cap the stockpile of bombs (which is said to be between 40 to 60).
North Korea however has its own demands which are firstly to put a formal end to the Korean War which ended fighting with no peace treaty 65 years ago. Also, the North is seeking for the U.S. to allow relief from sanctions on trade that are hurting the struggling economy. Right now not much trade has gone on with the North resulting in increased poverty and no real economic progress. At this time the Trump Administration plans on doing nothing until some concrete progress has been made in denuclearization.
The first steps are being made, as Kim has agreed to allow outside experts to observe the dismantling of its Sohae launch site. Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo has praised this step as it can be seen as a beginning to the agreements made by Trump and Kim in Singapore this past June. North Korea has long been scrutinized for its stubbornness and contempt of outside nations in its countries. A movement by Kim to shut down the plant would be a major concession of his power.
The fear for many journalists and US politicians with officially ending the war comes with the negative externalities associated with it. An end to the war before a decrease in the North’s artillery could prove fatal as nearly 30,000 US troops would pull out and give more space for North Korean attack. The UN will likely be hesitant to a rollback on sanctions until a clear plan is laid out.
At this point the goal could lead to stronger economic and social relationship with North Korea or Kim could be leading us to weaken our alliance with South Korea and capitalize on a decrease in their military bondage. More information will hopefully come in the coming months, so for now we can only wait for responses from the UN.