Insight: Questioning Trump's Denuclearization Commitment
Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un Signed the Peace Agreement in Korean Peninsula - Photo by AP

JAKARTA (TheInsiderStories) – Vietnam’s capital city, Hanoi  on Feb. 27-28 will host the second meeting of United States (US) President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.

A year ago, Trump and Kim agreed to work together to realize the full denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula in Singapore. Tomorrow, they will be pressure to clarify what the idea means, and how to start implementing it.

There are reportedly four points agreed upon by both sides in Singapore. First, the commitment to build new US-North Korea relations towards peace and prosperity.

Secondly, the US-North Korea joins in building a lasting peace regime on the Korean Peninsula. Third, reaffirming the April 27 2018 Panmunjom Declaration between North Korea and South Korea regarding a comprehensive denuclearization commitment on the Korean Peninsula. Finally, restore the problem of the two countries’ prisoners of war.

Nevertheless, the agreement signed by Kim and Trump is not clearly explained in detail and there has been little progress on the issue of denuclearization after the meeting was over. Therefore, when the two leaders meet again tomorrow, just meeting is not enough. Many people expect Trump-Kim’ second summit in Vietnam to produce concrete results.

There are indications that the meeting in Vietnam will produce more substantive results than the meeting in Singapore. That can be seen from the activities of the two countries ahead of the summit in Vietnam. US officials have reportedly held work-level meetings with their colleagues from North Korea.

Trump has also reduced the frequency of massive US-South Korean military exercises which have sparked anger in North Korea in recent years. Instead, Kim has demolished their nuclear test site last summer, despite not making a commitment to stop weapons development or shut down missile bases. Of course this is not enough to ensure peace on the Korean Peninsula and internationally.

Therefore, this second meeting, the two heads of state should be aware of the high expectations of the world community for more significant results and more able to show progress, or a more measurable progress map.

The world calls for an early US stance that requires North Korea to completely disarm its nuclear weapons before international sanctions are lifted. The US must dare to ask North Korea to take concrete steps towards nuclear disarmament, such as destroying major nuclear facilities or revealing a list of nuclear stores and missiles.

After all that is done thoroughly and comprehensively and is fully verified, international sanctions on North Korea are suspended or completely revoked. The US and North Korea, for example, can join China and South Korea to declare a peace agreement to officially end the Korean War.

The North Korean side should not object to this request. Especially when viewed from the economic perspective of the country in recent years. And so far, the only reason why Kim wants to soften with Trump is economic reasons. It is known, North Korea’s economy is much assisted by China. Limited North Korean finance is spent on building nuclear power.

Hankyoreh said that since 2013 the North Korean government could no longer hide the economic difficulties that were obtained because it received a lot of sanctions from the international community. Consequently, denuclearization is North Korea’s main key to obtaining concessions to international sanctions including economic support and cooperation.

Many economies predict North Korea’s economy will grow like China. Experts says there has been a calm revolution in North Korea with a form of liberalization of control over the country’s business to the development of companies and the private market even though the status is still illegal. This is due to the number of US sanctions imposed on North Korea.

Since 2006, United Nations (UN) has imposed various economic sanctions on North Korea. The UN’ members are prohibited from exporting and importing military products and coal, copper, nickel, zinc and silver. Sanctions freeze individual assets and companies, search for cargo, ban investments, stop transferring money and close Pyongyang from the international financial system.

On Sept. 21. 2017, Trump issued an Executive Order that allowed the US to cut the financial system and freeze the assets of companies, businesses, organizations and individuals who trade goods, services, or technology with North Korea.

Aircraft or ships that dare to enter North Korea will be banned for 180 days from entering US territory. Moreover, China does the same thing by following sanctions from the United Nations given to North Korea.

As a result of these sanctions, its estimated to cut one-third of North Korea’ annual export income of US$3 billion. While the cost of nuclear development demands a very high cost to the North Korean treasury.

Kim apparently realized that total denuclearization was a way to escape UN sanctions. That can be seen from the letter Kim sent to Trump before. It was reported, the contents of the letter, among others, confirmed North Korea’ commitment to carry out total denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula.

It is interesting to see that the two countries chose Vietnam as the location of this conference. Of course a lot of reasons can be proposed but this is very symbolic for Kim.

Reportedly, Vietnam has diplomatic relations, both with the US and North Korea. Even though it has clashed with the US in the past, Vietnam can be used as an example for North Korea that two countries can cooperate by putting aside the bitterness of the past.

Ideologically, Vietnam and North Korea are communist countries, although Vietnam has grown rapidly and is one of the countries with extraordinary economic growth in Asia. The economic growth can also be used by the US to show how North Korea can develop in the future, if they choose to open up and destroy their nuclear.

Written by Lexy Nantu, Email: lexy@theinsiderstories.com

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