If there is any chance of achieving Washington’s objective of comprehensive verifiable irreversible denuclearization, then it requires addressing conditions set by Pyongyang.
Nuclear North Korea Wants Less Talk, More Action
SEOUL, SOUTH KOREA — The great metropolis of Seoul sits barely thirty miles from the Demilitarized Zone. The city is the canary in the mine for the state of inter-Korean relations. All seemed well in late May as residents were frenetically active, paying little attention to events across the border in North Korea. However, those in government and the broader policy community were less certain.
South Koreans should be confident about the future. Their nation is two years removed from a catastrophic political meltdown by the ruling conservatives. Transitions between the ruling and opposition parties have become routine. Although slowing, the economy remains one of the dozen largest on earth. South Korea has become a cultural as well as commercial powerhouse.
Nevertheless, the country’s international situation remains unsettled. Relations with Japan are awful; those with China are a bit better but still embittered after Beijing sanctioned the Republic of Korea over its installation of America’s THAAD missile defense system. Although the Moon government officially praises relations with Washington, private assessments of President Donald Trump’s commitment to the alliance are far more negative.