Further mitigating the risk of a local incident escalating out of control should continue to be a high priority for North and South Korea as well as for the United States.
Chinese observers generally view the Singapore summit as a positive step toward denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula. However, many have come to question the success of the summit and whether the positive momentum that resulted from it is markedly slowing down.
Setting aside the unforced errors of the Singapore meeting between President Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un, this attempt to roll back North Korea’s nuclear program invites a rethinking of U.S. strategy.
U.S. and South Korean engagement with North Korea has focused almost exclusively on denuclearization to the detriment of progress in other areas that could advance normalization and reconciliation, which in turn could facilitate denuclearization.
While the U.S. argues that its deployment of the THAAD missile defense system in South Korea is necessary to counter the nuclear threat from North Korea, Chinese experts worry that U.S. missile defense assets in the region could undermine China’s strategic nuclear deterrent capability.
The Trump administration has almost no chance of getting North Korea’s complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization. But peace and security on the Korean peninsula is possible if Trump is willing to adjust to the reality that America will have to live with a nuclear North Korea.
For the visit to be a success, Pompeo should leave Pyongyang with specific details on the North Korean nuclear inventory, concrete next steps and a timeline which shows Kim is earnest in denuclearizing, and an agreement on how verification of any of the aforementioned objectives will happen.
In 2018, political relations on the Korean peninsula are in flux to an unprecedented degree.
The deal between U.S. President Trump and the North Korean leader Kim Jong-un is weak and far too general. The diverging interpretations of how to develop the agreement bode poorly for the future.
Despite the pageantry of the Singapore summit, the outcomes remain uncertain.