Tuesday saw President Trump sell his nuclear agreements with North Korea. This agreement’s form was different but also better than any that has gone before. Compared to previous deals, however, the two pages had similar language and was distinct for being vague.
The statement both Trump and Kim Jong Un signed committed them to the total denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in addition to a new, peaceful relationship and security guarantees. Unfortunately, neither of these aspects were defined. The lack of words such as “irreversible” in the phrasing of denuclearization suggests resistance by North Korea to Trump’s requests.
Senior fellow at the Federation of American Scientists, Adam Mount, said if North Korea were genuinely interested in denuclearizing, none of the maneuvers made would be necessary.
That specification is crucial since the country has pledged in nearly all nuclear agreements since 1992 to denuclearize the Korean Peninsula. However, every time, it has broken down due to lack of understanding on what that means. Pyongyang, North Korea’s Capitol, has since left the nuclear non-proliferation treaty. Following that, the country created a full nuclear fuel cycle, made an arsenal of atomic weapons, and developed the weapons.
Trump’s Agreement is One of Many Previous Attempts at Nuclear Agreements with North Korea, It’s Also One of the Vaguest
Other agreements between the U.S. and North Korea failed in the end despite or perhaps because they were more concrete and demanding of Pyongyang than the one signed earlier this week. Among these failed agreements was in 1994 during the Clinton administration.
The deal in 1994 specified commitments from North Korea to end plutonium-producing nuclear reactors and secure spent fuel rods. It also wanted the country to accept international inspections and remain in the non-proliferation treaty. Under this treaty, the pursuit of a nuclear bomb was illegal. Analysts believe this deal slowed the atomic progress of North Korea by years.
When asked why Trump thought this attempt at negotiations with North Korea would end differently, the president said because there is a different administration, president and secretary of state.
Trump later said the leaders discussed the verification processes at the summit. Kim understands the process would involve the acceptance of numbers of international personnel into his country.
There is still worry about the problematic history of negotiations regarding North Korea. Along with this is the lack of timetables or roadmaps for next steps in the agreement.
At best, this agreement is a tentative beginning towards something that will last years. There is no pacing or sequencing for action-for-action steps. There has also been no agreement anywhere on definitions of denuclearization and all that entails as well as the full meaning of their peace regime.