A host of diplomats have urged the United States and North Korean leadership to complete denuclearization and obtain solutions to some of the other issues within the relationship between the two countries even as the US announced on Friday about a second round of meeting its President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.
The announcement was made at the White House after Kim Yong Chol, vice chairman of the ruling Korean Workers’ Party Central Committee of North Korea, held a meeting with Trump there. The announcement was made by White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders who said that the meeting between the leaders “will take place near the end of February.”
“President Donald J. Trump met with Kim Yong Chol for an hour and half, to discuss denuclearization and a second summit, which will take place near the end of February,” Sanders said in a statement. “The President looks forward to meeting with Chairman Kim at a place to be announced at a later date.”
Both the US and North Korea are nearing the finalization of the details for another summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un which would be the second for them after their initial meeting in Singapore last June, and this was reflected by Kim Yong Chol’s visit to Washington, said Kyle Ferrier, a U.S.-based scholar of Korean studies.
“It’s not clear what exactly would be on the table in a second summit, but it would need to meaningfully advance diplomacy,” said Ferrier, director of academic affairs and research at Korea Economic Institute of America, a Washington think tank.
The meeting between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Stephen Biegun, U.S. special representative for the North Korea and Kim Yong Chol in Washington on Friday noon was described by U.S. State Department as “a good discussion”. After that meeting Kim Yong Chol held the final meeting with Trump at the White House.
Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol discussed efforts to make progress on achievements at the Singapore summit were discussed between Pompeo and Kim Yong Chol said Robert Palladino, deputy spokesman of the State Department.
Palladino added that Biegun will travel to the Swedish capital of Stockholm Saturday through Tuesday “to participate in an international conference hosted by the Swedish foreign ministry.”
Ferrier said that the bettering of the levels of diplomatic relations between Washington and Pyongyang “could include initial steps of denuclearization from Pyongyang” in exchange for “concessions from Washington.”
However, on the issue of the implication of denuclearization is seen differently by the US and North Korea.
While North Korea believes that the entire Korean Peninsula should by denuclearized and should be attained in a phased manner, the concept of denuclearization for the US is that there should be a “complete, verifiable and irreversible” denuclearization of North Korea which would form the basis for removal of sanctions against Pyongyang North Korea which includes the sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council and that the US has unilaterally imposed.
“The biggest obstacle with the denuclearization process right now is getting one side to budge from their entrenched position first,” Ferrier said, adding that the announcement of a second summit “suggests that the U.S. is more open to a step-by-step process, which will help keep talks going.”
“For the moment, diplomacy remains preferable to alternatives. Talking has achieved more than symbolic gains,” Patrick Cronin, senior fellow at the Hudson Institute, wrote in an article published Monday on the Foreign Policy magazine’s website.
“Reciprocity works in theory but perhaps not in practice, when comparing the apples of peace agreements and sanctions relief with the oranges of denuclearization,” he said.
(Adapted from XinhuaNet.com)