Radio Free Asia reports the obvious that North Korea has no intention of giving up its nuclear weapons:
The Central Committee of the ruling Workers’ Party has decreed that North Korea will not relinquish its nuclear arsenal, which it termed a “precious legacy” of the country’s late leaders, according to local sources, despite an earlier pledge by party chairman Kim Jong Un to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula.
North Korea was always going to retain its nuclear weapons. They acquired them to have a deterrent against attack, and they believe them to be essential to regime survival. The administration’s fixation on the fantasy of complete disarmament was misguided from the start. There is not really a contradiction between the vague commitment Kim Jong-un gave in Singapore and this decree from the ruling party. Committing to “working toward” the denuclearization of the entire peninsula does not and has never meant North Korean agreement to disarm.
Secretary Pompeo has been repeating the falsehood that Kim agreed to do something that he never agreed to do. He keeps using the formulation “final, fully verified denuclearization of North Korea, as agreed to by Chairman Kim in Singapore” to describe this, but Kim never committed to any such thing at the summit and everyone knows it. Pompeo has been misleading the public and Congress on this important point, and he continued to do so yesterday in a contentious hearing at the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. That has to stop.
Once the administration acknowledges and accepts that North Korea isn’t disarming, then there might be a chance to have productive talks aimed at making the testing moratorium permanent and supporting the ongoing rapprochement between Seoul and Pyongyang. Insisting on North Korea’s disarmament is a dead end, it has nothing to do with promoting peace on the peninsula, and continuing on this path will jeopardize inter-Korean engagement. Negotiations with North Korea must have a realistic goal if the U.S. and its allies are to gain anything from them.