Denuclearization impasse: U.S., DPRK differ on the disarming process
By Nayan Seth
Many experts believe that the Republic of Korea (ROK) and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK) can't normalize their relations without American involvement. However, both Pyongyang and Washington disagree on several of the basic principles around the denuclearization.
Since the Trump-Kim meeting in Singapore in June, the Trump administration has regularly shifted its stance on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has repeatedly stressed the need for complete and verifiable denuclearization before economic sanctions on the DPRK can be eased.
However, the U.S. president insists he's ready to give the DPRK more time.
Over the past two months, three statements in particular highlight the changing narrative coming out of the White House.
On November 20, Pompeo told the ROK that denuclearisation should be prioritized over an expansion of bilateral relations on the peninsula.
Earlier this month, it was announced that the Trump administration is planning to review its ban on American citizens travelling to the DPRK to help facilitate the delivery of humanitarian aid.
Finally, on Christmas Eve, Trump tweeted that he's looking forward to a second meeting with Kim Jong Un.
With Washington preparing for a second summit, the White House's prevarications seem to be evoking anger and frustration in Pyongyang.
Just last Monday, the DPRK hit out at the U.S. for imposing fresh sanctions against three of its top officials.
It warned the move could “block the path to denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula forever”.
Three days later, the DPRK's official news agency published an article demanding that Washington revoke its nuclear threat to the DPRK before asking it to denuclearise.
The United States operates a network of nuclear-capable submarines and bombers off the coasts of South Korea and Japan, and there are close to 30,000 American troops stationed in the ROK.
The U.S. has not yet indicated if it's willing to consider DPRK's demand although Trump has said he wants Seoul to pay more for the maintenance of the U.S. troops in the country.
(Cover: Kim Jong Un (L) shakes hands with Donald Trump (R) after taking part in a signing ceremony at the end of their historic U.S.-DPRK summit, at the Capella Hotel on Sentosa island in Singapore on June 12, 2018. /VCG Photo )