To reach a final deal on the denuclearization of North Korea, the Trump administration must give up something substantial. But Washington isn’t budging... South Korea and North Korea recently announced plans for a third summit meeting between their two leaders, to take place in Pyongyang in September. From family reunions to fielding a joint sports team in the upcoming Asian Games, the two Koreas are moving forward with steps to further détente on the peninsula.
By contrast, the United States has done very little in the two months since the Singapore summit between President Trump and the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, to advance the relationship.
The United States appears to be waiting for the North to take the next step. But the Trump administration is ignoring the reality that to reach a final deal on the eventual denuclearization of North Korea, the United States must give something substantial in return.
Above all, Washington must take steps to ease North Korean fears of an American attack. Without such a guarantee, the North will never surrender its nuclear arsenal.
.. Let’s take stock of the concessions by the two sides.
North Korea has imposed a moratorium on missile tests and nuclear tests. It has dismantled entrances to a nuclear test site (at Punggye-ri) and a satellite-launching site (at Sohae). There’s evidence of a shutdown of an I.C.B.M.-assembly facility near Pyongyang. It has returned what it says are the remains of 55 United States soldiers killed during the Korean War and has released three American citizens arrested in North Korea as a condition for the summit meeting. Pyongyang has also reduced domestic anti-American propaganda.
The United States has canceled one war game.
.. All of North Korea’s concessions were unthinkable less than a year ago.
.. North Korea has never offered to unilaterally disarm first, with the hope that the United States would then do something nice in return. Rather, North Korea has consistently called for a “phased” and “synchronous” approach, with “step for step” negotiations.