US President Trump announced on May 8 that the US was withdrawing from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JPOA) – the deal that restricted Tehran’s nuclear developments in exchange for lifting UN Security Council sanctions and unilateral restrictive measures that had been imposed by the United States and the European Union.
In the expert’s opinion, Trump’s statement “won’t produce a negative effect on the negotiating process with North Korea.”
“The significance of the Iranian factor should not be overstated. The North Korean side is extremely pragmatically minded, conducts its own foreign policy course and understands well that the missile and nuclear program can be resumed upon any convenient opportunity,” Lobov said.
Is the game worth the candle?
Despite the high probability of a meeting between the US and North Korean leaders, it is yet unclear whether the sides will be able to reach agreement, the expert noted.
“This issue is unclear because the sides have differing positions on the Korean Peninsula’s denuclearization,” the expert pointed out.
“While the North Koreans say that nuclear disarmament should proceed stage by stage, taking into account reciprocal steps and in the absence of a threat from the United States, the US side insists on North Korea’s transparent and unconditional denuclearization,” the expert noted. “Pyongyang will hardly agree to this step,” he added.
“Kim Jong-un and North Korean diplomats directly state that this process is quite lengthy and requires security guarantees for North Korean statehood,” Lobov said.
“In turn, Washington’s representatives have stated on many occasions that any US concessions will follow only after North Korea fully gives up its nuclear program,” the expert said.
“So far, the powers are not ready to give each other what each of them is seeking,” the expert said.
Pyongyang has already made considerable concessions. In particular, it announced on April 21 that the tests of intercontinental ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons had been halted and the Phungeri nuclear test site had been closed. Recently, North Korea has made a decision to return three American citizens of Korean origin earlier convicted for espionage and hostile actions to the United States.
“The Trump administration can already write down these actions to its credit as achievements in the Korean direction,” Lobov said.
A summit of the leaders of South and North Korea took place in South Korea on April 27, which political scientists described as a precursor to the Kim Jong-un-Trump meeting. During the talks, the sides agreed to seek the Korean Peninsula’s full denuclearization and formally put an end to the Korean war of 1950-1953 that ended with the signing of a truce treaty.
Trump announced on May 10 that he would meet with Kim Jong-un in Singapore on June 12.