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Zheng Jiyong (Trump-Kim Summit)

Apr 11, 2018
  • Zheng Jiyong

    Director at the Center for Korean Studies, Fudan University

As there is strong demand for a summit in both the US and the DPRK, it is very likely to take place.

For the US, resolving the DPRK nuclear issue is a diplomatic priority. As such, a DPRK-USA meeting will help Trump get out of a difficult situation at home and the image of ‘messing around’ in diplomacy. It will also differentiate him from previous presidents. Meanwhile, the DPRK’s expressed willingness to give up its nuclear program has already exceeded expectations. If this can truly be realized, this would be a great success for Trump.

The DPRK has made this decision out of a survival instinct. The country is under severe international sanctions and in enormous economic difficulties. Kim Jong-un, who has been stressing the importance of economic development, needs a stable environment for the North Korean economy. Kim claimed that DPRK developed nuclear weapons to enhance its position. But he also needs to develop the economy. At the core of any solution stands the DPRK-USA relationship. If Kim is able to meet with Trump, no matter the result, it will be considered as having established the legitimacy of the DPRK regime, granting it a position equal to that of the US.

The meeting may result in one or more of the following: (1) the DRPK announcing a total freeze of its nuclear and missile tests; (2) the DPRK returning to the NPT; (3) the DPRK abandoning its missile program whilst retaining its nuclear one to maintain a full nuclear deterrence capability; (4) the DPRK giving up its missile program and part of its nuclear program; and (5) the DPRK completely abandoning its nuclear program.

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