State of Affairs - North Korea and the US

By Dariy Esenov

“Another sight of unauthorized missile testing done by North Korea this week, with remnants of missiles being found across the the border in South Korea” blares CNN during dinner time in American households. Usually when we hear this, it strikes fear into our hearts. North Korea is well known for running an oppressive dictatorship and very rarely communicating to other countries outside of its realm. But times may be changing as North Korea has recently reached out to the United States and is ready to discuss denuclearization.

“The U.S. has confirmed that Kim Jong Un is willing to discuss the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” a Trump administration official told The Hill on Sunday.  But there may be more to the story than meets the eye, the summit, which will be held later this May, is scheduled to be in Pyongyang which is the capital of North Korea. Trump has deterred this invitation and has chosen to meet at a different location in South Korea. He has also referred to his previous list of requirements that he expects North Korea to meet before he’s able to attend the meeting. He established these requirements earlier in March, which North Korea seems to be making strides in fulfilling. This list of requirements was very brief, consisting of a more open line of communication from the head office in North Korea to that of the U.S. and a written promise to cease nuclear testing and general missile testing indefinitely.

The sanctions imposed by the U.N. on North Korea have been very forceful and limiting, but ultimately very successful in preventing North Korea from reaching their nuclear goals. What this could mean for the rest of the world is a potential end to an era of nuclear arms testing. This would be done through solidification of the requirements that North Korea has been forced to comply to over the past 5 years. Alternatively, North Korea may be struggling to fund their own military escapades and is now looking to temporarily soften the grip the United Nations has on the country in order to lift the import limitations. This could be a strategic move in order to put North Korea back in a position of power.

In conclusion, North Korea has completed nuclear testing sporadically over the past 12 years even after being sanctioned by the U.N., making this act of  “reaching out” with promise of denuclearization is very uncharacteristic. While it is important for Donald Trump to attend this summit and have a discussion with Kim Jong-un, both leaders may have a different outlook on how the consensus of said summit will impact their countries.