Kim says he will give up nukes if US promises not to invade

Sounds like the basis for a deal to me.

North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un told South Korean President Moon Jae-in that he would give up his nuclear arsenal if the US were to negotiate a formal end to the Korean War and promise not to invade.

New York Times:

In a faith-building gesture ahead of a summit meeting with President Trump, Mr. Kim also said he would invite experts and journalists from South Korea and the United States to watch the shutdown next month of his country’s only known underground nuclear test site.

The comments by Mr. Kim were made on Friday when the leaders of the two Koreas met at Panmunjom, a village on their shared border, the spokesman, Yoon Young-chan, said on Sunday, providing additional details of the meeting.

“I know the Americans are inherently disposed against us, but when they talk with us, they will see that I am not the kind of person who would shoot nuclear weapons to the south, over the Pacific or at the United States,” Mr. Kim told Mr. Moon, according to Mr. Yoon’s account of the meeting.

It was another dramatically conciliatory statement by Mr. Kim, whose country threatened to do exactly those things during the height of nuclear tensions last year.

Mr. Yoon revealed more details of the daylong talks between Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon as many have expressed skepticism about the friendly gestures made by the North Korean leader, and whether they would turn out to be empty promises aimed at lifting sanctions on his isolated country.

On Friday, Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon signed a joint declaration recognizing “a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula” and “complete denuclearization” as a common goal of the two Koreas. But during the summit events, some of which were broadcast live around the world, Mr. Kim never publicly renounced his nuclear weapons.

Even in the additional details released on Sunday by South Korean officials, Mr. Kim appeared to hedge his bet, indicating that denuclearizing his country could be a long process that required multiple rounds of negotiations and steps to build trust. But he laid out a vague idea of what his impoverished country would demand in return for giving up its nuclear weapons.

This sort of quid pro quo is exactly what the US is looking for. The only reason the US would invade the North is if Kim were to threaten us or the South Koreans with nuclear weapons. But he can't threaten us with nukes if he doesn't have any. In short, the US gives up relatively little while Kim gives up nearly everything.

That's why we should be skeptical of this offer. At this time, it's impossible to discern Kim's endgame. There must be some confidence building measures carried out  by Kim before the US would commit to such a course of action. If those steps are taken, we can be reasonably sure that Kim is sincere about giving up his nukes. 

But Kim is nothing if not complicated. Can it really be this simple? A man with zero credibility has just offered to disarm. Caution is still called for until Kim proves with his deeds that he can be trusted.

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