In one of his walking out of a ceremony remarks President Trump mentioned that the process. To date there has not been any press speculation about this process. There has been speculation that the Iran nuclear deal cancellation has made the upcoming denuclearization negotiations more difficult. This is contrary to the process. The process has included a series signals (public and private) and actions. Several of these are:
- Convincing the Chinese to tighten the screws on the North Koreans. (It should be noted that Kim Jung Un has made 2 visits to China in recent months.)
- The Winter Olympics north south cooperation and accompanying discussions
- The recent north south summit in Panmunjom that included:
- Movement towards a peace treaty
- Opening of family reunions
- The provision of a USB stick with an North Korean economic development plan on it
- The Pompeo back channel discussion in North Korea
- Discussions at the UN with Niki Haley
- The cancellation of the Iran Nuclear Agreement signaled that a cosmetic do nothing agreement will not be tolerated. This is necessary to define expectations and set the bar at a high level.
- The recent release of the three detainees as part of Secretary of State Pompeo’s latest visit to coordinate the negotiation
- The North Korean announcement that they will dismantle their nuclear testing facility and allow the media to visit it
- The suggestion that the North Koreans provide 3 warheads to the French to have them dismantled
- President Trump’s more positive remarks about Kim Jung Un, while stating hopes for success but simultaneously allowing the possibility for a lack of success with the blame for failure being pre-positioned as a North Korean failure
- Secretary Pompeo’s remarks yesterday that US funds would not be used to rebuild North Korea, HOWEVER with a lack of sanctions private capital would flow into North Korea. “He talked of the potential for U.S. investment in the North Asian nation from America’s “entrepreneurs, our risk takers, our capital providers” to help North Korea’s people “get the opportunity that they so richly deserve.” Of course allowing such capital flow would be dependent upon proof of denuclearization.
So the process is ongoing providing the standards, some initial agreements, the removal of issues (the hostages) and the terms for whatever is to occur in Singapore next month. This process started with the “Rocketman” rhetoric and the display of force. Another key part of this process was convincing the Chinese to tighten the embargo on the North Koreans.
Watching this process unfold may provide a textbook approach to reaching critical, peaceful negotiated agreement.