President Trump has changed his views on the time frame for North Korea to denuclearize. He said there is no “time limit” and continued to dismiss any skepticism regarding North Korea’s intentions to denuclearize.
The North Korean nuclear program has been a source of concern for the US and the international community for decades. Talks to curb the programme in exchange for relief from sanctions have failed repeatedly. In 2006, after North Korea conducted its first nuclear test, the UN passed harsh economic sanctions on the region. In 2017, Pyongyang conducted over 20 missile test launches, and conducted its sixth nuclear test. US President Trump has taken an aggressive stance while countering North Korea, threatening “fire and fury like the world has never seen”. Trump has maintained a “maximum pressure” strategy against Pyongyang.
Since January 2018, Pyongyang appeared to have softened its stance, initiating diplomatic meetings. On April 27th, North and South Korean leaders Kim Jong-Un and Moon Jae-In held a historic summit, the first in over a decade. The two nations announced that they had agreed to end the 60-year Korean War and signed the Panmunjom Declaration which agreed to denuclearise North Korea. A meeting was also arranged between the North Korean leader and the US President, the first of its kind.
However, North Korea reverted to a more aggressive stance by cancelling a meeting with South Korean officials.National Security Advisor John Bolton said that the United States was looking at a 2004 “Libya model” to denuclearise North Korea. Pyongyang responded that they would “no longer be interested” in dialogue if the US was trying to push for “unilateral nuclear abandonment.” It threatened a "nuclear-to-nuclear showdown". US President Trump cancelled the summit on May 24th, due to Pyongyang’s “tremendous anger and open hostility”. However, the historic Singapore Summit was back on for June 12th. The summit saw the two leaders agreeing to begin a diplomatic process to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”
President Trump on Tuesday said there’s no “time limit” or “ speed limit” for North Korea to denuclearize.“Discussions are ongoing and they’re going very, very well. We have no rush for speed,” Trump said. “The sanctions are remaining. The hostages are back. There have been no tests. There have been no rockets going up for a period of nine months. And I think the relationships are very good,” He added.
His remarks came days after North Korea called its in-person denuclearization talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo “extremely regrettable” and accused the US Of making “gangster-like” demands. However, Mike Pompeo had previously said that Sunday’s meeting had produced “firm commitments” including restarting field operations in North Korea.
Nevertheless, the president continues to dismiss any skepticism about North Korea’s intentions to denuclearize.“I have confidence that Kim Jong Un will honor the contract we signed &, even more importantly, our handshake. We agreed to the denuclearization of North Korea. China, on the other hand, may be exerting negative pressure on a deal because of our posture on Chinese Trade-Hope Not!” Trump tweeted last week.
Amid increasing doubts over the prospects for denuclearisation, North Korea moved a step closer to fulfilling one of the more specific commitments from the Singapore summit: the repatriation of the remains of US military personnel killed in the Korean War. North Korea is expected to hand over as many as 55 sets of remains by next week.
Regime officials reportedly did not attend a planned meeting with US counterparts last week. On 15th July, though, North Korea and the US held their first general officer-level talks since 2009. A subsequent working-level meeting at the truce village of Panmunjom on Monday focused on coordinating the transfer of remains already collected.
Siegfried Hecker, a nuclear scientist co-authored the roadmap of DPRK’s denuclearization with Robert Carlin and Elliot Serbin.The authors estimated that the halting or suspending of North Korea’s nuclear weapons stockpile and missile arsenal will likely take less than a year but eliminating or setting limits on them will take six to 10 years.
"Such assurance cannot be achieved simply by an American promise or an agreement on paper, it will require a substantial period of coexistence and interdependence," the study concluded on prospects of DPRK’s denuclearization.
Our assessment is that although the Singapore summit was successful in opening channels of dialogue and diplomatic relations with North Korea, the denuclearization pledge had no time frame. We believe that North Korea’s complete denuclearization is a phased process and will take more than a decade to achieve.We feel Trump’s response has more to do with the “gangster like” accusation made by the North Koreans.