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The nuclear summit between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has concluded, with each securing something they value. The US will suspend the joint military exercises with South Korea that rattle the Hermit Kingdom. And North Korea has promised to denuclearize. At some point. Probably. But if the past is any sort of prologue, you shouldn't hold your breath.
On the face of it, the agreement signed by Trump and Kim seems promising. “President Trump committed to provide security guarantees to the DPRK, and Chairman Kim Jong Un reaffirmed his firm and unwavering commitment to complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” the statement read.
But this is not the first time North Korea has promised to abandon its nuclear efforts. (In truth, even this was simply a reaffirmation of a denuclearization pledge Kim had already made in April.) Nor is it the second time, or the third. The offer has resurfaced over the last several decades with surprising regularity. And it has never panned out so far.
“There’s definitely a pattern where the North Koreans agree to denuclearize in theory, but then there’s not really a substantive process that they agree to, to actually hammer it out,” says James McKeon, a policy analyst at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation.
'Any notion that we’re simply going to denuclearize North Korea now after the summit, or any time in the very near future, must be dispelled.'
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