Avoiding ‘Fire and Fury’ with North Korea

By Joseph DeTrani

Ambassador Joseph DeTrani is former Special envoy for Six Party Talks with North Korea and the U.S. Representative to the Korea Energy Development Organization (KEDO), as well as former CIA director of East Asia Operations. He also served as the Associate Director of National Intelligence and Mission Manager for North Korea and the Director of the National Counter Proliferation Center, while also serving as a Special Adviser to the Director of National Intelligence.  He currently serves on the Board of Managers at Sandia National Laboratories.  The views expressed represent those of the author.

Bottom Line Up Front: Six months after the historic June 11, 2018 Summit between President Donald Trump and Chairman Kim Jung Un, the American public is losing patience with a North Korea that continues to make nuclear weapons and missile delivery systems.  Many now doubt that North Korea will ever completely denuclearize, as promised at the historic Summit. So, let’s look at the facts and assess whether continued negotiations will result in the complete denuclearization of North Korea.

Background: During the past six months, there has been some progress with North Korea: There have been no nuclear tests or missile launches; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has been to Pyongyang to meet with Kim Jung Un; Vice Chairman Kim Yong Chol has been to the U.S. to meet with Pompeo; a joint South Korea-North Korea Liaison Office will be established in Kaesong, North Korea; a survey to connect South-North rail lines has been approved and guard posts at the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) have been dismantled by the North.  Other confidence building measures are forthcoming, to include plans for a second Trump-Kim summit in early 2019.

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