Encouraging news on North Korea – but beware of false dawns

The most encouraging world news in a while is the surprise revelation that North Korea is willing to negotiate giving up its nuclear weapons programme and that the presidents of North Korea and the United States will meet in the next couple of months.

There have been no significant negotiations between the US and North Korea since 2012, when the two sides agreed a short-lived moratorium on long-range missiles and nuclear weapons activity in return for food aid. The agreement fell apart after Pyongyang launched a satellite with a powerful rocket that could be used in a missile.

A deal struck in 1994 fell apart as a result of mutual distrust. It is far from clear that a new deal would be any more enduring. The challengse to both sides are enormous as explained in this “Guardian” piece which states:

“It is a prize on an epic scale, but so are the risks. Both leaders view the provisional agreement to meet as a personal triumph born of resolve. … ┬áHaving invested so much personal capital in the meetings, there is a significant danger of a backlash from either or both men if they do not get their way under the glare of international attention.

I have read one book on the recent history of North Korea and you can check out my review here.


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