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Dwindling hopes for North Korean denuclearisation

18 4 0

SINCE the days of ‘fire and fury’, the world has witnessed three meetings between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Despite the hopes these summits generated, we have not seen much progress on North Korean denuclearisation.

Instead, these meetings appear to be producing diminishing returns. The Trump administration’s unilateralist approach, hostile US policies towards China, and South Korea’s efforts to seek for a pragmatic solution have contributed to this situation.

The first meeting between the United States and North Korea led to an agreement on negotiation principles, as well as drastically reduced military tensions. Despite its failure, the second meeting saw an agreement nearly reached. The third meeting went by with no agreement on substance at all. As a result, the chance for complete, verifiable, irreversible denuclearisation (CVID) looks more unattainable than ever.

How can we explain these developments? The unilateral approach of the Trump administration has set the stage. Since coming into office, Trump has shown little interest in working with others on North Korean disarmament. The Trump administration has tried to solve the problem single-handedly, and in doing so, has joined North Korea in rejecting multilateral approaches like the Six-Party Talks.

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Confronted with a perceived existential threat and economic constraints that prevent the development of reasonable conventional defence capabilities, Pyongyang sees few alternatives to nuclear weapons development. This explains why Pyongyang has spent so much of its resources on the program and taken such extreme risks to continue it.

The only way to persuade North Korea to disarm is to demonstrate that........

© Asian Correspondent