One of the central questions in the negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear program: What does Kim Jong Un want in return for giving up his weapons?
The United States is demanding the “complete, verifiable and irreversible” denuclearization” of North Korea. But when Kim met Trump in Singapore last June, he promised only to “work toward the complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
Specifically, the issue is what Kim means by his insistence on the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula” — and whether that includes a demand for U.S. troops to leave South Korea and pull nuclear-armed American bombers and submarines out of the surrounding region. (South Korean President Moon Jae-in raised a separate issue: whether making a “political” declaration that the 1950-53 Korean War was over would affect the status of U.S. forces in South Korea.)
Moon’s own unification minister, Cho Myoung-gyon, told a parliamentary hearing on Jan. 9 that Seoul does not share Pyongyang’s definition of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
The ambiguity over such a central question could be a negotiating tactic, leaving some tough questions for later in the peace process when mutual trust is higher.
Many experts see all this as a problem, a sign that Trump and Moon are dodging some of the big issues in their desire to declare the talks a success. Read more