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Kim Jong-Un was the big winner. The United States only got a very vague declaration of intent, much weaker than anything it secured with Iran. It will take a long time to move things forward.

Stephan Haggard is the Lawrence and Sallye Krause Professor of Korea-Pacific Studies, director of the Korea-Pacific Program and distinguished professor of political science at the School. He has written on transitions to and from democratic rule and the political economy of economic reform, social policy and globalization.

 

ILNA: What was the reason for the sudden turning point of the US and the decision to hold the summit?

Several things came together, including growing concern in the US over North Korean capabilities the Olympic truce and Moon Jae-in’s diplomacy. But sanctions and Chinese cooperation played a key role in bringing Kim Jong-Un to the table. 

ILNA: What is the position of North Korean neighbors, and in particular South Korea, on security issues and China in the economic field? Does any compromise cause China to lose its winning card against the United States?

China has long argued that North Korea should denuclearize, and that the US should hold direct talks with the regime. The summit outcome was even more positive for China since it appeared to endorse China’s proposal of a freeze-for-freeze: a stop on North Korean tests in return for a winding down of military exercises. That concession by Trump was the biggest surprise of the summit.

ILNA: Is an agreement on nuclear disarmament possible in practice? How do you evaluate the role of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on this issue?

If the United States could get an agreement with North Korea like the Iran agreement we should be happy; unfortunately, Trump walked away from that deal and it is unclear whether he can negotiate a similar framework for North Korea. Any agreement will take years to negotiate and implement. The IAEA will have to be on part of such an agreement for sure.

 

ILNA: How will the U.S. withdrawal from JCPOA affect the negotiation process with North Korea? Do you think that this will lead to distrust of North Korean officials in Washington?

If North Korea did not believe it could get some kind of agreement with the US it would not have come to the summit. But pulling out of the JCPOA does show things about Trump’s management of international affairs, namely that he is better at breaking agreements and leaving them -on trade, on the environment- then he is at negotiating new ones.

 

ILNA: What is your assessment of events in recent days in Singapore?

Kim Jong-Un was the big winner. The United States only got a very vague declaration of intent, much weaker than anything it secured with Iran. It will take a long time to move things forward.

 

Kim Jong Un Donal Trump Stephan Haggard U.S-North Korea summi Singapore Summit
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