Upcoming Posts and Pages

Hello Dear readers,

I know it has been a long two-weeks since the summit, and I promise that I have been hard at work. Coming up tomorrow will be my in-depth analysis of the summit. I also have been devoting some time to developing a page devoted to the summit. This page will include primary sources, media coverage from all angles, and will be a source of information on the summit. It has been a pleasure to develop that page and I look forward to it being up soon–I don’t know exactly when yet.

Also, there may be some other changes coming up as I am thinking of new ideas. I promise to keep you all in the loop with the happenings on this site.

Thank you all for reading this site. If you have any ideas on how this site can be better, please make sure to let me know and I will try to incorporate ideas for you all to enjoy.

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Publishing During the Summit

Today there will be a lot of news from the summit, and it feels like the right time to step back into analyzing the peninsula. Throughout the day, I will be updating the blog with analysis and updates of this historic meeting.

I will work to reestablish the old publishing schedule in the coming days, but for now, lets sit back and watch the summit.

Creating a Path Toward Denuclearization

It has been a long, unplanned hiatus for this blog, not due the lack of news coming from the peninsula for sure. As we approach meeting time, the world watches both President Donald J. Trump and Chairman Kim Jung-un as they wake up in Singapore, counting down the hours till they meet face to face. As I cannot write something that has not been written before, below is a brief breakdown of a possible path Trump can pursue to set North Korea on a path toward denuclearization.

(Image: Trump and Kim Jung-un. Source: CNN)

A diplomatic uncertainty, full of twists and turns only a Trump White House could produce, has increased the already high stakes of next weeks U.S.-North Korea summit. Topics will mainly focus on the weapons programs in North Korea, with a strong push for “complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization.” Another key focus will be a formal ending to the Korean War with the possible signing of a peace treaty. Trump, in order to pursue the denuclearization of North Korea, can pursue three goals which will set North Korea on the path toward denuclearization and use the possibility of a formal peace treaty to bring Kim Jung-un into compliance.

First, Trump can pursue the safety of the North Korean nuclear program by pushing for strong updates to current North Korean nuclear testing and production sites. Such updates would ensure that nuclear waste is properly stored, proper measures for interacting with nuclear material are implemented, and ensure that any accident can be contained quickly. Adding such a strict, internationally mandated safety to the North Korean nuclear program ensures any inspections are thorough and provides structure to give the world a better understanding of the program. It also can ensure that the North Korean people themselves are less likely to become the victim in case of a major breakdown at any nuclear site in the country.

Second, Trump must push for enhanced transparency with regards to international reporting on North Korea’s nuclear program. This includes installing a strong structure for and stipulations on North Korea’s own reporting of its nuclear program. As David Sanger and Willam Broad reported in the New York Times, Pyongyang has hidden vast amounts of data on its nuclear program for decades—American intelligence agencies cannot even agree on how many weapons Kim possess. This means any strong transparency measures will also have to include a strong inspection regime to ensure compliance with implemented measures and the accuracy of North Korean reports. Violations or discrepancies within North Korea’s reports must then be investigated and punished appropriately; a stronger understanding of the capabilities of North Korea’s nuclear program greatly enhances the ability to verify any steps taken toward denuclearization.

Finally, Trump should push for the destruction of known nuclear sites such as Yongbyon in order to build upon the North’s actions at Punggye-ri while also greatly reducing North Korea’s capabilities to expand its arsenal. To prevent shallow gestures, international experts need to be able to attend and verify the destruction of such sites, and Pyongyang should face penalties if any site is not irreversibly destroyed. Though there are many unknown nuclear sites in North Korea, destroying the ones already known cripples Kim’s ability to build more weapons. A panel of interested nations—Russia, America, South Korea, North Korea, Japan, and China—should convene to discuss the future of any sites discovered. Rewards should be granted if Pyongyang volunteers site information and follows through on its complete destruction.

A formal peace treaty should not be signed unless Kim Jung-U.N. is willing to commit to all of these steps, ensuring that he is making good on his promise to pursue denuclearization. Providing North Korea with the security assurances that come with a formal treaty without pressing for concrete steps toward denuclearization ensures that Kim is free to cheat on any deal, all while gaining concessions and legitimacy in the domestic and international arenas. Trump also needs to think about the future and ensure that strong measures are ready to be implemented should Pyongyang cheat on the deal. America simply cannot give Kim concessions without gaining concrete steps toward denuclearization.

If Trump can secure all three of these commitments from Kim, he will walk away having accomplished more than previous presidents have on the North Korea issue. However tantalizing, he must avoid giving away security guarantees for grand promises and instead focus on setting North Korea down the road toward denuclearization. With the hype and pressure surrounding the summit, Trump must think in terms of substance while refusing to fall for North Korea’s grand promises of peace and denuclearization that Pyongyang carefully crafts for their benefit.

Corrections: June 11, 2018

Typographical changes to make the post easier to read.

Publishing Change

Slight change in the publishing schedule for today and tomorrow. Daily Updates will be replaced by an analysis post of the latest rocket launch from North Korea.

Daily Reading: In lieu of North Korea’s latest provocation, an important question arises: how will the United States protect itself if Pyongyang launches an ICBM on Washington? In a wonderful feature for the Washington Post, Bonnie Berkowitz and Aaron Steckleberg explain the GMD system and why it may leave the United States vulnerable during such an attack. Read about the system, and its pros and cons at: Bonnie Berkowitz and Aaron Steckleberg, “If North Korea Fires a Nuclear Missile at us, How Would We Try To Stop It?Washington Post, November 29, 2017.

Different Style for the Week

Seeing as I have been a little fainéant in terms of posting, for which I apologize, this week will be structured differently. Tomorrow, the post will cover some big stories out of South Korea over the long pause, focused mainly on more recent events. Friday, I’ll get up a North Korea summary of news which will follow a similar outline.

After that, there will hopefully be a routinization of posts to keep fresh material on the blog.

Restarting Posts: Analysis and Daily Updates Coming Back

Ok, so I took a very long hiatus from this blog with the intention of restarting the posting schedule a couple of times. Seeing as it is now officially autumn, there is no longer any excuse to continue procrastinating the restart of material for this blog. Here is what the restart will entail:

A briefer on the rising tensions between Washington and Pyongyang, focusing on the ICBM and nuclear tests will be the main analysis piece.

Daily updates will resume starting on Monday and will be Monday-Friday, as they always have been.

Anyway, its good to be back and I look forward to sharing a ton of wonderful news with everyone as the year comes to a close and we look forward to 2018.

It’s a Comeback!

Wow, summer was a busy time and I am glad that it is winding down. Since I have had some changes in my life, it will be possible for more time to be devoted to this blog and I am super excited that I am able to come back and restart posting!

I am going to restart this week with a special post on the rising tensions on the peninsula, arguing that North Korea’s ICBM tests were, for lack of better terms, telegraphed through past events and, despite the rapid changes, that the current arsenal in Pyongyang’s possession is not a direct threat to the United States. I also hope to illuminate some paths forward toward de-escalating the tensions currently on the peninsula. I am going to try to get at least one longer argument post out per month, but hopefully more.

Next week, I will start posting normally and I am glad to be back writing Daily Updates, Breaking News reports, special posts, and more. Thank you for staying with me and I hope you all are ready to gain more understanding to the Korean peninsula!

Corrections: A previous rendition of this post used the word “eliminate” when it should have said “illuminate.”