From deal deets to de­nuk­ing, seven ques­tions get an­swered

The Denver Post - - NEWS - By Bloomberg and what we need to watch for in the com­ing months?

What’s the best-case and worst-case sce­nario we can hope for from the com­mit­ment be­tween Don­ald Trump and Kim Jong Un? And how can any­one be sure that North Korea is re­ally de­nu­cle­ariz­ing?

Tues­day’s his­toric meet­ing of the two world lead­ers in Sin­ga­pore left many open ques­tions. Bloomberg hosted a live chat about the Trump-Kim sum­mit on the LINE mes­sag­ing app, where read­ers tuned in to have their ques­tions an­swers by edi­tors. The fol­low­ing is an abridged tran­script.

1. Be­tween Trump and Kim, who got the bet­ter deal?

Both Trump and Kim got things they want. Trump ap­pears to have re­solved the im­me­di­ate threat of war and cast him­self as a peace­maker. But Kim’s wins — sus­pended U.S. mil­i­tary drills, new in­ter­na­tional sta­tus, im­proved re­la­tions with China and South Korea and talk of eas­ing sanc­tions — are more sub­stan­tial.

2. How will this change re­la­tions be­tween the U.S. and South Korea, par­tic­u­larly the pres­ence of U.S. troops?

So far, Trump and South Korean Pres­i­dent Moon Jae-in are pretty much in line. There are still few de­tails about Trump’s de­ci­sion to sus­pend U.S. “war games” in South Korea, which could fuel dis­cus­sion about a weak­en­ing of the al­liance. While Trump has talked about low­er­ing over­seas troop de­ploy­ments, he says that’s not on the ta­ble for South Korea right now.

3. How can any­one be sure that North Korea is re­ally de­nu­cle­ariz­ing? And how can the U.S. make sure Kim will keep his com­mit­ments?

That’s per­haps the big­gest of the many ques­tions left unan­swered by this joint state­ment yes­ter­day. Not only was there no men­tion of ver­i­fi­ca­tion and in­spec­tion, but the two sides didn’t es­tab­lish what de­nu­cle­ariza­tion means. Asked about this yes­ter­day, Trump said: “I think he wants to get it done. I re­ally feel that very strongly.”

4. Apart from de­nu­cle­ariza­tion, could you give a quick re­cap of what was agreed to at the sum­mit

There are four main points of the joint state­ment: es­tab­lish­ing new U.S.-North Korea re­la­tions, build­ing a last­ing and sta­ble peace regime, reaf­firm­ing North Korea’s com­mit­ment to “com­plete de­nu­cle­ariza­tion” and repa­tri­at­ing Amer­i­can war dead. There’s also Trump’s de­ci­sion to sus­pend mil­i­tary ex­er­cises.

5. Is this sum­mit a gamechanger for Asia and the rest of the world? Which coun­tries have the most rid­ing on a con­crete peace deal?

Rather than a gamechanger, this was more of a break­through in how the U.S. and North Korea talk to each other. Hav­ing open chan­nels of com­mu­ni­ca­tion can only min­i­mize the risk of mis­cal­cu­la­tion. North Korea and South Korea have the most rid­ing on a peace deal, but China, which is next door, is prob­a­bly next in line.

6. What have ob­servers been say­ing about the pos­si­bil­ity of Trump (or Kim) get­ting a No­bel Peace Prize?

Moon says Trump de­serves a Peace Prize. Oth­ers might say it’s Moon who is prob­a­bly more de­serv­ing, since he was push­ing Trump and Kim to­ward peace when they were still both threat­en­ing nu­clear war. Oth­ers might say let’s wait un­til there’s an ac­tual peace deal be­fore we start dol­ing out ac­co­lades.

7. Why has it taken this long to get North Korea to the ta­ble? What’s the best­case and worst-case sce­nario we can hope for?

North Korea has re­sisted talks over the years be­cause it dis­agreed with the U.S.’s pre­con­di­tions — mainly, a clear com­mit­ment to an in­spec­tion-and-ver­i­fi­ca­tion regime. But it has long wanted a meet­ing with a U.S. pres­i­dent. Trump’s de­ci­sion to meet Kim with­out that clear path to de­nu­cle­ariza­tion re­moved the road­block.

Best-case sce­nario is the two sides start talk­ing, North Korea de­cides the U.S. is no longer a threat and scales back its ar­se­nal. Worst case is the U.S. de­cides North Korea isn’t co­op­er­at­ing and we go back to war threats.

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