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What Is the Point of a Second North Korean Summit?

A second photo-op summit with North Korea will reportedly take place next month [1]:

On Friday, the White House announced a second summit between the two leaders to negotiate North Korea’s denuclearization would take place toward the end of February. Details on the precise date and location of the summit remain unclear.

Judging from the lack of progress in U.S.-North Korean negotiations since the first summit in Singapore, the second summit won’t produce anything of value for the U.S. or our allies. The only reason to hold a second summit is to maintain the illusion that the U.S. and North Korea are engaged in serious talks on North Korea’s disarmament when that goal remains as unrealistic as it always has been. Keeping that illusion going allows Trump to claim credit for something that isn’t happening, but it impedes real negotiations that could lead to substantive improvements in U.S.-North Korean relations. There is an opportunity for U.S. diplomacy with North Korea to be constructive if it builds on the real progress in inter-Korean rapprochement that has been happening over the last year, but so long as the administration remains hung up on the fantasy of “final, fully verified denuclearization” these meetings are just meetings for their own sake. Talking about disarmament that won’t occur is a waste of time for all concerned, and linking all diplomacy with North Korea to an unachievable goal just gives hard-liners in the administration an opening to advocate for more punitive measures and possibly military action.

The U.S. should be prepared to accept that North Korea is going to remain a nuclear weapons state for the foreseeable future. The administration should seize on Kim’s statements [2] that North Korea won’t proliferate its technology and use them as the basis for further negotiations. Unfortunately, it is much more likely that the president will be satisfied to have another substance-free photo op, and diplomacy with North Korea will continue going nowhere.

6 Comments (Open | Close)

6 Comments To "What Is the Point of a Second North Korean Summit?"

#1 Comment By Sid Finster On January 21, 2019 @ 11:27 am

Right now Trump is in desperate need of something, anything that be spun as a “win”.

#2 Comment By Taras 77 On January 21, 2019 @ 3:01 pm

My sense is that this korean “stalemate,” if that is what it is, is the direct result of pomp/bolton ratching up the demands over and over.

It seems totally unrealistic for nk to unilaterally disarm prior to any agreement-does anyone in this world trust the us to hold to agreements/

finally, the matter belongs just to both koreas-if the us would butt out, things would happen-yeah, for pomp/bolton to butt out is asking a lot and it will not happen.

#3 Comment By Christian Chuba On January 22, 2019 @ 7:43 am

It would be nice if there was a written agreement with a detailed process outlining a specific protocol of what each side expected with a time table, something like the JCPOA.

#4 Comment By furbo On January 22, 2019 @ 10:18 am

I agree that N. Korea is not going to disarm anytime soon. Given what surrendering his nuke program did for Quadaffi – why would they? That said, things are going well between the Korea’s and there have been no more stunts such as firing missles over the Sea of Japan. I’ll side with Churchill “it is always better to jaw, jaw, jaw than to war, war, war.

#5 Comment By Anon On January 22, 2019 @ 10:59 am

It will be up to SK & NK to normalize their relationships. Obviously, create economic and cultural stakeholders on both sides. It will take time, they must learn how to get along with one and other. But if this goes on over twenty years the US troops will be quite superfluous. Too bad for US that it will cost us a pretty penny to keep those troops there for all that time.

#6 Comment By rayray On January 22, 2019 @ 11:13 am

@Sid Finster
And if not a “win” at least a distraction.