What Pyongyang and Washington Mean When they talk About Denuclearization

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When the leader of North Korea Kim Jong Un and President Moon of South Korea meet in a summit scheduled for Friday next week, denuclearization will be a most important topic in their discussions. However, it appears that it is also the topic that has the least clarity. In recent weeks, the term denuclearization has been bandied from Washington to Seoul to China. There is little to no agreement regarding what the term means. This confusion could lead to a troubled summit in which the Trump administration has agreed to send representatives. The unclear circumstances of the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula may also jeopardize the scheduled meeting between Kim Jong Un and President Donald Trump.

The Chinese state media and officials from the South Korean government have said that the North Korean leader has indicated that he is willing to have talks regarding the realization of a nuclear-free Korean peninsula. President Moon announced on Thursday that Kim had dropped his demand of US troop withdrawal from the peninsula as a precondition for negotiations. The concession has been met by skepticism by foreign relations analysts from all over the globe. A Federation of American Scientists senior fellow has said that Pyongyang has been doing all things right to ensure that the forthcoming summit takes place. By now, Kim Jong Un has made very vague public statements regarding the issue while the state media in Pyongyang has remained silent regarding the summit or the denuclearization topic.

On March 27 this year, Kim said that North Korea was committed to denuclearization of the entire peninsula which is consistent with the stand of his father Kim Jong Il and his grandfather Kim Il-sung. This statement drew a positive response from the US president who said that North Korea had given a signal that it was willing to abandon its nuclear missiles program. The term denuclearization has been used to refer to one thing by both North and South Korea and the United States; CVID. This is the abbreviation for complete, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement of the nuclear program in North Korea.

The term has also been used consistently by the UN’s Security Council resolution which has condemned the regime in Pyongyang since 2006. The term irreversible is used to mean that the current nuclear facilities will not have the capacity to be reactivated after their dismantling. Any deal that will be reached during the program will have to include steps that are verifiable for dismantling the weapons program carried out under the supervision of independent UN observers.

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