September 17, 2021

The best way to negotiate with North Korea? Be ready to walk away

Trump must ensure Pyongyang cannot back out of a deal once it has extracted concessions

The announcement that President Trump will be holding a summit meeting with Kim Jong Un by May is giving rise to feverish speculation on what could have precipitated this sudden turn of events. It is not yet known what kind of promise North Korea has made to Trump in order to make the meeting possible.

Pyongyang’s entreaties could have been as plain as a vague commitment to denuclearization; or, it could have been a more detailed offer with concrete steps towards complete nuclear disarmament. Regardless of the nature of the message, Kim Jong Un will eventually have to make a commitment to CVID (Complete, Verifiable, and Irreversible Dismantlement) of his nuclear program - lest the talks fall apart.