This softened stance, expressed by Trump on Friday, appears aimed at getting North Korea to eventually accept CVID —complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization — by lowering the hurdles to start the summit talks.
It is strongly believed that North Korea cannot go ahead with CVID because it cannot rely on Trump’s statements that the U.S. side will guarantee the preservation of the North Korean regime.
According to a U.S.-South Korea diplomatic source, North Korea is demanding a CVIG — complete, verifiable and irreversible guarantee — of its regime as a condition for accepting denuclearization. The CVIG is seen as a high-level demand on par with CVID.
According to a diplomatic source with knowledge of the U.S.-North Korea negotiations, North Korea has indicated its distrust of the United States, citing the Trump administration’s withdrawals from the Paris Agreement, an international framework to combat global warming, and the Iran nuclear deal. Both were concluded by the administration of former President Barack Obama.
North Korea is apparently eyeing a legally binding agreement — such as a treaty approved by the U.S. Senate — that would not be discarded due to a change in the U.S. administration.
As specific measures, North Korea may demand the establishment of a liaison office in Pyongyang that would station U.S. citizens in the capital and the eventual upgrade of that office to an embassy with the normalization of bilateral relations. It might also seek a halt to U.S.-South Korea joint military exercises, and the removal of Pyongyang from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.
At a Senate hearing on May 24, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo showed a positive stance toward concluding a treaty with North Korea that would include such elements as a guarantee of the regime. However, the Senate is nearly split between Republicans and Democrats, and it will not be easy to disclose the contents of U.S.-North Korea negotiations and get such a treaty approved in the Senate.
Pompeo also said the U.S.-North Korea negotiations were at an early stage, adding, “There remains a great deal of work to do.”
© 2018 the Asia News Network (Hamburg, Germany)
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