SJP Circle “Post Trump-Kim Summit: What is the Next Step?”

On September 11, 2018, GWIKS invited three experts in inter-Korean relations from South Korea for a talk regarding the next steps after the post Trump-Kim summit. At the start of the event Director Jisoo M. Kim of the GWIKS explained the background of the discussion and introduced Professor Immanuel Kim. Immanuel Kim served as a facilitator for the event and introduced the three panelists.

“North Korea Issue: Three-Level Games”

Dr. Sanghyun Lee, Senior Researcher of Sejong Institute, evaluated the summit in a perspective of what each country expected from the denuclearization agreement and stressed the importance of a complete denuclearization of North Korea. There was not much evidence of Kim giving up the nuclear weapons. Dr. Sanghyun Lee analyzed three reasons that made Kim join the negotiation table: confidence, fear, and mediation. Kim was confident of DPRK’s completion of national nuclear forces but unpredictable US policy by Trump made him concerned. The mediation by Moon and/or Xi also effectively played a role for him to come out and talk. However, the deep distrust of the US and further demand of North Korea were reconfirmed after the summit. The future would be composed of three dimensions; Inter-Korean Dimension, DPRK-US Dimension, and DPRK-International community dimension. The progress in each dimension should proceed concurrently for a successful global nuclear nonproliferation strategy.

“The Fate of Nuclear Weapons in North Korea”

Professor Yong-sup Han, Former Vice President of Korea National Defense University, emphasized the timeline of the North Korean nuclear program during ensuing generations of the Kim and compared the Singapore summit with previous North Korea denuclearization discussions in history. Defining denuclearization and using the right wording would have an impact on an effective negotiation with North Korea. “Verifiable dismantlement” should be used instead of denuclearization. He asserted that the US should lead in organizing verification teams, together with concerned countries and IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency). He also emphasized that the DPRK-US meeting should be held in Washington D.C. instead of Pyongyang to effectively push the US’s agenda.

“A Paradigm Shift: Reverse-Kissinger Strategy”

Professor Youngjun Kim, from Korea National Defense University, proposed his interpretation of the two parties’ motivation for the summit. Kim’s motivation was to obtain domestic political support for his long-term regime and to become more independent from China. On the other hand, Trump was seeking to contain China by using North Korea. In that way, the US could expand its influence over South East Asia and Korea so that it can have a gray zone against China.

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