North Korea Summit an Important Milestone Towards Denuclearization

Blanche Robertson
June 14, 2018

The UN Secretary General also drew attention to the humanitarian situation in North Korea, calling on donors to allocate $111 million for six million people in need. Speaking on behalf of President Moon Jae-in, Deputy Director of the presidential National Security Office, Nam Gwan-pyo on the ground in Singapore hailed what came out of Monday's historic meeting. "They are the protagonists", Guterres said.

"I pay my high compliments for the courage and determination of the two leaders, President Trump and Chairman Kim, not to settle for that outdated and familiar reality but to take a daring step towards change". Indeed, as Moon has been a key mediator between the two volatile leaders, a favourable outcome, specifically an official end to the 1953 Korean War and denuclearisation, could see his domestic and global reputation skyrocket.

When asked if North Korea had agreed to denuclearise, Donald Trump said: "We're starting that process very quickly, very, very quickly".

This May, however, Hyundai, a former Kaesong investor, said it was setting up a task force to prepare for restarting economic projects in North Korea. The South is now a robust democracy that plays a key role in the world economy, while the North is an impoverished dictatorship that presents an outsize military threat.

Seven Democratic Party hawks, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senator Dianne Feinstein, indicated they would vote against any agreement unless North Korea eliminates all nuclear and biological weapons, dismantles all ballistic missiles, and allows inspections anywhere in the country.

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Whether Trump is willing to make that move is unknown.

That year Bush declared North Korea to be part of the "Axis of Evil", which also included Iran and Saddam Hussein's Iraq. The North Koreans want to keep some nuclear weapons as a deterrent against a US attack or attempt at regime change.

The challenge of rebuilding North Korea's infrastructure would be huge. In 2017, USA sanctions pushed the North's exports to under $2 billion, mainly after China made a decision to buy fewer North Korean exports aiming to bring it to negotiating table over its nuclear weapons.

Hinderstein stressed the importance of the United States, the IAEA and other parties addressing Pyongyang's nuclear capability comprehensively to include fissile material production - both uranium and plutonium - and weapons-building infrastructure.

Life expectancy is 10 years lower in North Korea (69.2 years vs. 79.3 years in South Korea).

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