President Donald Trump had a historical meeting with North Korean leading Kim Jong-Un on June 12, 2018. In this meeting, they discussed North Korea’s nuclear program and how to ease the threat of a nuclear war, which resulted in the Singapore Summit. There are a wide range of views on this result, some more optimistic than others. The summit ended with North Korea committing to returning the remains of American POWs and “complete denuclearization,” which North Korea had previously promised in Panmunjom. The United States committed to “security guarantees” for the North Korean regime, and President Trump stated he would halt joint military exercises with South Korea, and that Kim Jong-un promised to destroy a missile engine testing facility. The United States should recognize that the current North Korean regime has no intention to denuclearize, however, denuclearization should still be the target goal of US foreign policy with regards to North Korea.
The United States should remain open to negotiations with North Korea, especially since these talks could offer prospect of achieving denuclearization. The Unites States has imposed many sanctions on North Korea, which are in place to hinder the development of nuclear technology. There have been several occasions where the United States has lifted sanctions on North Korea in exchange for a promise to freeze their nuclear program, but the issue is whether North Korea can be trusted with this agreement. I believe that if North Korea formally agrees to completely denuclearize, the United States should life sanctions, but they should be ended gradually and partially. Sanctions should be lifted on sectors that affect the basic needs of the North Korean economy, such as coal and oil, while maintaining those directed at nuclear programs. Putting pressure on North Korea will not force them to give up their nuclear arsenal, which is why this must be a gradual and practical process. The United States should hold frequent meetings to ensure that North Korea is holding their end of the bargain. If they do not agree to the deal, then the United States would be able to impose sanctions again.
As for United States military options, a first strike is not an option because there would inevitably be retaliation and mass casualties, and North Korea would not be compelled to hand over their nuclear weapons. However, if North Korea agrees to get rid of their nuclear weapons, the United States could discuss how we could help them with our military. We should aim for a “freeze for freeze” agreement, in which Pyongyang ends nuclear tests, and Washington ends military actions with South Korea. This option could help to ease both sides into a negotiating table. Along with military aid, if North Korea agrees to eliminate their nuclear program, the United States could provide them with financial aid. However, this deal would have to be approached with caution; the United States must have ways to monitor North Korea to make sure they are sticking to the deal. The Unites States should plan visits and open a U.S. intersects section in Pyongyang, which would be cheap and give North Korea respect it desires from the United States. The United States should also focus on negotiations besides denuclearization, while recognizing that North Korea has nuclear capacity, but keeping denuclearization their long-term goal.
The Singapore Summit matches with my foreign policy recommendations because it involves compelling North Korea to give up their nuclear arsenal, while also ensuring that international inspectors are not allowing North Korea to cheat on their deal. It is still too early to tell whether the summit is a success for the United States and North Korea, but hopes are that it will hold out and create a lasting benefit for both countries. Ultimately, the goal of the deal is to secure vital interests. In this case, it means protecting the lives of Americans, securing allies, and pursuing peace between the United States and North Korea.
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