Opinion: How likely is North Korea’s Denuclearization?



An image of Donald and Kim Jong Un courtesy of commons.wikimedia.org

Gabrielle Franklin

One of the largest topics on everybody’s minds recently is nuclear weapons. Between the threats between the U.S. and North Korea and the speculation of what event could trigger a global conflict, the chaos is mind-boggling. Even more mind-boggling is the fact that North Korea agreed to denuclearize or at least consider it. But does this really mean that North Korea will agree to denuclearize? Yes, but does it mean that it will be as the United States and President Trump expect it? No.
The United States, South Korea, and North Korea are coming into these negotiations with different ideas of what denuclearization means. To the United States, it means the complete removal and dismantling along with the complete stop of testing of nuclear weapons. However, to North Korea, it depends on what Kim Jong Un and his government decide. North Korea suffers from economic decline, famine, and the constant Cold War between South Korea (not to mention that the Korean War is still in effect) and the U.S. along the DMZ and they will surely agree to alleviate these problems but on their own terms.
The upcoming negotiations are not the first time North Korea has agreed to denuclearize. In 2012, Kim Jong Un agreed to denuclearize in the Leap Year Deal, after which a few weeks later tested a long-range rocket. So, in entering the negotiations North Korea will be willing to denuclearize, but the real question isn’t if but how long North Korea will denuclearize.
Though this agreement may not bear any long time changes in the nuclear standings of North Korea and the United States, it does create several stems for possible historical change. It shows, at least symbolically, that North Korea is willing to talk and that South Korea is willing to oblige. This does not mean that the people of the globe may see a unified Korea in their lifetimes or an end to the Korean War, considering that North Korea is unapproachable to relinquishing its dictatorship and South Korea to giving up its freedoms and democracy, but is definitely a step.