December 10, 2018

Whatever Happened to North Korean Denuclearization?

“After meeting with North Korea’s leader Kim Jong Un in Singapore this past June, President Trump was effusive.

“Our conversation was open, honest, direct and very, very productive,” he said. “We produced something that is beautiful.”

But after five months of canceled meetings and muted statements of dissatisfaction by both countries, experts say there is no sign of progress toward the Singapore goal of so-called “denuclearization” of the North.

“I think right now, we are absolutely stuck,” says Sue Mi Terry, a senior fellow at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

Terry and others trace the source of the problem to the “beautiful” document signed in June by Trump and Kim. Known as the Singapore Declaration, it laid out, in the broadest terms, how the U.S. and North Korea could learn to get along.

In just over 400 words, it says that the U.S. will normalize relations with North Korea in exchange for “denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.” But it does not specify a process or even an order in which these goals would occur.

Since the summit, North Korea has said normalization must start before denuclearization, while the U.S. maintains that the North must hand over its nuclear weapons before any normalization can begin.”

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