What was actually agreed at the inter-Korean Summit, and what are the roadblocks ahead? A closer look at what the Panmunjom Declaration means for the Korean Peninsula.
The positive short-term outlook for a summit between Kim Jong Un, and President Donald Trump should not obscure the serious long-terms risks created by the latest spate of high-stakes diplomacy.
The circumstances of the meeting between Kim and Pompeo are far less significant than its consequences. Despite the odd timing and public exposure, the Trump administration has used a proven channel to attempt an extraordinary mission.
It is uncertain at best whether a Trump–Kim meeting will actually take place. If one does, the central issue will be the huge discrepancy between what the United States and the North Koreans mean by the phrase “committed to denuclearization.”
Nuclear disarmament, arms control, and nonproliferation policies are increasingly affected by declining regional security, increasing militarization of U.S. foreign policy, and changes to the global normative nuclear order.
The risks for a Trump-Kim summit remain high, and Trump’s notorious inconsistency and irritability cannot be dismissed.
North Korea has a history of promising big and then working in secret to advance its program. Since the Trump administration has deliberately degraded the U.S. diplomatic capacity and nonproliferation expertise, Pyongyang would enjoy an advantage in the period following a summit.
As North Korea’s nuclear arsenal and ballistic missile capabilities mature, Washington should pursue a comprehensive and verified capping of Pyongyang’s nuclear program, pending total denuclearization at a later date.
John Bolton wants regime change in North Korea and Iran, and he’ll do whatever it takes to get it.
Rather than use Cold War principles, nuclear states should shift their nuclear doctrines and capabilities to strategic deterrence as needed by the twenty-first century.