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Will US get out of the way?

14 7 13

By Stephen Costello

The unlikely spectacle unfolding in Singapore this month, with the leaders of North Korea and the U.S. meeting in an attempt to bridge differences that have persisted for over 60 years, provokes great confusion.

One reason for that is that leadership groups in both countries have developed deeply ingrained narratives explaining their mutual confrontation. Both narratives will now have to be adjusted if the two are going to be able to find mutual interests and strike believable, trustworthy and durable deals. There are already signs in both countries that this is happening.

Based on Pyongyang's previous words and actions, and based on its acknowledged strategic interests in greater security, independence and economic growth, there are solid reasons to believe that deals can be agreed to that begin to eliminate its destabilizing weapons. It cannot hold on to its current capabilities for long, and they will have to be at first minimized in exchange for having those requirements met.

At the heart of the U.S. position are political and strategic contradictions.

On one hand, the Americans hold decisive and critical influence over international institutions, both political and economic, that are relevant to North Korea's denuclearization and development. These include the U.N. and its many organs, as well as the World Bank, the IMF, the IAEA, and others.

Regardless of the behavior of China or South Korea, this U.S. leverage has been decisive for the North. For this reason it made sense for DPRK leaders to prioritize........

© The Korea Times