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The U.S. has made its objectives very clear as well. Key is the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula

Anticipating the U.S.-North Korea Summit

 By BFP Staff  Thursday, April 26, 2018

By James A. Lyons, Jr. Admiral, USN (ret)
CIA Director Mike Pompeo’s secret visit to Pyongyang over the Easter holiday apparently provided sufficient confidence that Kim Jong-Un has made a commitment to at least discuss the potential denuclearization of North Korea. Clearly the visit to North Korea by the highest-ranking U.S. official ever has greatly legitimized the status of the rogue dictator Kim Jong-Un. Nonetheless, President Trump has declared that he will meet with him, and expects the summit to be held by early June or sooner. Five sites are under consideration, all outside the Korean peninsula, and include Southeast Asia as well as Europe.

Make no mistake, while Kim Jong-Un will be sitting at the table, he will be there only as a proxy for China’s President Xi Jinping. We will in fact be negotiating with China. The recent conciliatory moves by Kim Jong-Un, I believe, are being carefully stage managed by Xi Jinping. It remains to be seen exactly how far China is willing to go. After all, we should never forget that there would be no nuclear weapons program in North Korea without China’s support.

Kim’s commitment to discuss the potential for denuclearization, his willingness to sign a peace treaty with South Korea

Leading up to the U.S.-North Korea summit is the reopening of diplomatic talks between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korea’s Kim Jong-Un on 27 April at the “Peace House,” which is on the southern side of the DMZ line that divides the two Koreas. This will be the first time a North Korean leader has crossed that line since the end of the Korean War. One of the key items on their agenda will be to formally end hostilities between the two countries. This could be a welcome move, as it would also have to be on the agenda for President Trump’s meeting with Kim Jong-Un. Any peace treaty between North and South Korea would have to be signed by President Trump and North Korea, as the U.S. signed the armistice with North Korea on South Korea’s behalf.

This is not the first time the subject of a formal peace treaty between the two Koreas has come up. The usual North Korean demand that we withdraw our forces from South Korea as a precondition has been dropped for now. I am confident, however, that this subject will be on the U.S.-NK summit agenda. From North Korea’s viewpoint, and as orchestrated by China, it gives Kim Jong-Un the opportunity to discuss with President Trump the future status of all U.S. military forces in South Korea. Let’s not forget, the removal of all U.S. forces has been a long term Chinese objective.

The sudden announcement on 20 April that North Korea will stop all nuclear tests and launchers of intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBM) and close the test sites while talks are underway was welcome news. What it does indicate is that North Korea, with its aggressive testing of short, intermediate and intercontinental ballistic missiles in 2017, is now sufficiently confident with the level of proficiency they have been able to achieve, and can now afford this suspension of testing. Further, Mt. Mantap, under which NK has been conducting its nuclear tests, is collapsing, possibly leaking radiation that threatens China.

With Kim’s commitment to discuss the potential for denuclearization, his willingness to sign a peace treaty with South Korea, and now his latest announcement to suspend all nuclear tests and missile firings, a cooperative atmosphere has certainly been created for the summit. Make no mistake, these actions have all the earmarks of Xi Jinping trying to stage manage the summit talks. Chinese objectives are very clear. They would like to see the removal of all U.S. military forces from South Korea along with the removal of the THAAD ballistic missile defense system. They would also like to see the termination of our annual combined exercises with South Korea’s military forces.
In subsequent stages, North Korea’s Submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) program must be addressed as well as the Yongbyon Nuclear site

The U.S. has made its objectives very clear as well. Key is the complete and verifiable denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. China also claims a similar objective, but it cannot be ignored that China has been the key sponsor, along with Russia, of North Korea’s nuclearization. Because of North Korea’s many very large underground nuclear weapons facilities, everything will have to be dismantled in specific, verifiable stages.

In the first stage, to determine North Korea’s and China’s sincerity, a very deliberate action by North Korea must be taken. Such action should be the removal of all Transporter Erector Launchers (TELs). Pyongyang’s Hyasong-14 and Hyasong-15 mobile ICBMs, which can target Washington, ride on the 16-wheel and 18-wheel TELs that were made in China. They were covertly made by the Sanjiang Special Vehicle Corporation of the China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation (CASIC). There are 8 to 10 of these TELs in North Korea, which gives them the capability to launch a surprise missile strike against the United States within 30 minutes, versus the two hours it would otherwise take. Removal of the TELs is the litmus test on China’s commitment for denuclearization.

In subsequent stages, North Korea’s Submarine-launched ballistic missile (SLBM) program must be addressed as well as the Yongbyon Nuclear site

It must include both the 5MWe reactor as well as the Experimental Light Water Reactor. Throughout the various stages, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors must be allowed to inspect sites anytime, anywhere to provide the necessary verification. This is not an unusual requirement since this is what was done in South Africa and Libya. President Trump must also press for the release of the three Americans held by North Korea, as well as an accounting and release of the 13 Japanese nationals still living that were kidnapped by North Korea.

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