North Korea could be convinced to hand over its entire supply of nuclear weapons, but it won’t come cheap, claim top military bigwigs.
Days after a North Korean government spokesman warned that American President Joe Biden risks an ” all-out showdown ” if he continues his effort to limit Pyonyang’s nuclear ambitions, two US experts say North Korea may still be willing to give up its nuclear weapons – as long as the price is right.
Former CIA East Asia director Joseph DeTrani, told an online conference: “I do believe North Korea is committed to complete, verifiable denuclearisation, assuming they get the security assurances they want and certainly they need because they’re concerned about regime change, and they realise nuclear weapons, indeed, are a deterrent.”
DeTrani, now President of the Intelligence and National Security Alliance, says North Korea wants a “normal”relationship with the United States.
“However,” he adds, “they want it on their terms.”
He says that Kim Jong-un wants to know what the Biden administration would be willing to offer in exchange for disarmament.”They need to hear what’s required of them when we talk about comprehensive, verifiable denuclearisation, and they need to be hearing from us.
But also,” he stressed, “we need to hear from them when they talk about security assurances, economic development assistance”.
DeTrani believes the 2018 agreement signed by Kim and then-president Trump could still be the foundation of a new, friendlier relationship between Washington and Pyongyang.
He says: “I thought the Singapore joint statement was a very, very effective…very succinct but very effective… document that spoke of a transformation of our relationship, which is what North Korea wants, a process to normalise relations with the US.”
Veteran diplomat Christopher R. Hill, who was United States Ambassador to South Korea during George Bush’s time as president, agreed that North Korea’s warlike rhetoric shouldn’t necessarily be taken at face value: “It’s not clear that North Korea is ready, but nor do I believe that we should accept their statement that, to the effect, they are not at all happy with this policy review,” he said.
“We should not accept that statement as the final statement from the North Koreans.”
“It’s going to be up to the North and the North Koreans to figure out that there is something in this for them and they ought to come to the table,” he added.