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Can Trump-Kim summit helps denuclearization of the Korean peninsula?

Trump-Kim summit probably will not be reached on a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization (CVID) of the Korean peninsula. North Korea has a long history of false and broken promises with United States, South Korea, and the international community. Many times North Korea makes commitments for denuclearization and to stop production of nuclear weapons but at present, they are not only nuclear power but having long-range intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM). The United States has also a history of false and broken promises not to attack broken in the cases of Libya and Iraq. Present Trump has also withdrawn from the historic Iran nuclear deal.

On December 12, 1985, North Korea accedes to the NPT (Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty) but the safeguards agreement was not completed with the IAEA (Atomic Energy Agency). In 1991 George Bush unilaterally withdrawal approximately one hundred nuclear weapons was based in South Korea. And South Korea announces declaration on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. Next year in January 1992, South Korea and North Korea signed agreement named South-North joint declaration on the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula and both the states are agreed not to test, produce, manufacture, possess, store, deploy, and possess nuclear reprocessing and uranium enrichment facilities or use of nuclear weapons.

On June 15, 1994, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter negotiates a deal with Pyongyang after he meets with Kim II-sung. As result of that meeting, North Korea freeze all her nuclear weapons programs and resume negotiations with the United States. Later in October North Korea and the United States signed agreed framework according to the agreement North Korea freezing her plutonium weapons program and halting construction of nuclear reactors and the U.S. provides relief in sanctions.

The first summit between South Korea and North Korea held in June 2000 in Pyongyang, President Kim Dae-jong meets with Jong-il. The summit results with commitments for a number of joint commercial projects and reunification of families separated by the war.    

Since the end of World War II, U.S.-North Korea relations is an essential question for policymakers. When Japanese army surrendered after the brutal regime for 35 years the United States and Russia divided Korea into two pieces South and North Korea’s. Syngman Rhee the first South Korean president who spends years in exile in the U.S. and Kim II-Sung who was in Russia during the Korean war took control of South Korea and North Korea respectively, U.S. and Russia installed them in South and North Korea. Kim II-Sung wants to reunite tow Korea’s and he attacked South Korea in June 1950 after three years of bloody war more than three million Korean peoples had been dead or wounded. But the problem was not solved.

Trump-Kim summit probably will not be reached on a complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization (CVID) of the Korean peninsula. Kim’s regime was and will only survive with nuclear weapons as the nuclear weapons programme of North Korea is a base for the Kim dynasty’s survival.  The Trump-Kim summit will be concluded on realistic approach rather than U.S. optimistic demands of CVID which will be disarmament and prohibition of actions that lead towards war and hostilities and not to interfere in internal matters on any states. But United States will demand the democratic process in DPRK. The complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization agreement will be a grave threat to the Kim regime.

It is more likely that both the leader will agree to never use nuclear weapons in case of war. North Korea will put demands to recognize her as peaceful nuclear power but this is less likely to recognize by Donald Trump. Minimum deterrence for both states will take a central stage in any agreement if they reached.

The United States never want to withdraw her military form South Korea because it’s not only about North Korea but for the whole region South Korea is strategic heaven for American military presence close to the Chinese and Russian borders. CVID for Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and military withdrawal for the U.S. is an unwanted strategic option for both the countries. To maintain the minimum deterrence CVID and military withdrawal are not the options for the Kim and Trump respectively.

Trump-Kim summit only successful when the all the parties (North Korea, United States, South Korea, Japan, China, and Russia) are something gaining and something losing. President Donald Trump should offer enough security and economic package that will convince Kim Jong-un and meet the acceptable security needs of all the stakeholders.

The trends of publicity, populism, domestic politics, fragmentation of global issues and public opinion sometimes create grave risks for peace and in this situation, diplomacy loses its basic responsibilities, norms, and rules. It is hard to work for diplomacy while it conducted in the shadows of publicity and populism. It is likely that if a state wrongly evaluates the objectives and powers of other state and sets her objectives which she has not the power to attain may face serious risks and even face risks of war.