With the upcoming summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, opinions are divided on how to map out a denuclearization strategy for North Korea, one of the most vexing issues for the summit. Looking at the past cases, White House aides mentioned most frequently the Libya model, a process where dismantling nuclear arsenal comes before making any compensations. However, South Africa could also be seen as an alternative model for nuclear disarmament, observers say. South Africa is the only country that has voluntarily ended a well-established nuclear weapons program and dismantled nuclear arsenal.
“The South Africa model, on the premise of a voluntary reporting and verification, was being discussed in depth in Washington. Our special adviser also said it would be worth consideration,” said Rep. Park Beom-gye of the Democratic Party who returned from his trip to the United States with Moon Jung-in, President Moon’s diplomatic and special security adviser, in a telephone interview with The Dong-A Ilbo Monday. “The disarming of Libya is not seen as success to the despot leader Gaddafi because he is now dead. It could be difficult to refer to the Libya’s nuclear disarmament at the face-to-face negotiation table with Kim.”
If Washington and Pyongyang accept a South African approach for denuclearization, the United States could give some security benefits in return for the regime’s voluntarily abandoning of its nuclear weapons program, experts say.
This strategy requires the two sides to build a trusted relationship beforehand to a considerable extent as well as an elaborate roadmap that specifies steps toward denuclearization. However, the landmark summit is expected to take place in June at the latest, having no time to do so, which is why there is a consensus among U.S. officials that the model might not be brought up at the meeting.
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