Total denuclearization of North Korea, if at all possible, won’t be accomplished during the Trump administration despite claims that have been made by the president.
After a summit with North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un in June, Donald Trump tweeted that Pyongyang no longer presented a nuclear threat. As experts would point out though, it is impossible to eliminate a nuclear threat in one meeting, and close to impossible to completely get rid of it in any amount of time.
Just landed – a long trip, but everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office. There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 13, 2018
Complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization (CVID) is “really impossible,” Rebecca Hersman, Senior Advisor at the International Security Program and Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), said last week.
“Even when a country makes a strategic choice to give up it’s strategic capabilities those objectives are achievable. You cannot vanquish knowledge or expertise, you cannot find and inspect every potential hiding place, you cannot assure the actions and decisions of future decision makers,” said Hersman.
During the June summit, Kim promised to work toward a “nuclear-free” Korean Peninsula, but no plan detailing the extent to which North Korea will be denuclearized or by what means has been agreed upon.
“I really think North Korea will need to see first that an agreement can be sustained through a political transition in the U.S. before having any real faith in agreements or promises,” Jenny Town, the managing editor at 38 North, a program of the Stimson Center dedicated to providing analysis on North Korea, told The Globe Post.
There are no specifics as to whether North Korea will only be required to get rid of just nuclear missiles, if that includes biological or chemical weapons, or if they will have to go so far as getting rid of the potential for using nuclear power for civilian energy.
Up to date, neither the State Department nor the White House have even given a timeline for denuclearization.
“The details are so light. The challenge here is not just even that the details are missing, but the big picture is almost impossible to see as well,” said Hersman.
Anything resembling complete denuclearization will also take time and the idea that “there is no longer a Nuclear Threat” has proved to be not true.
Satellite images released on July 23 showed evidence that North Korea had begun dismantling key missile launching sites.
“The dismantling of that would be in line with Chairman Kim’s promise to the U.S.,” said Heather Nauert, Spokesperson for the State Department, in a press briefing on July 24.
However, it was reported on Monday that new satellite images show North Korea has started building more intercontinental missiles.