Pyongyang’s next steps

Pyongyang’s next steps

What has happened?

North Korea and South Korea have jointly declared that the Korean War will be finally over. North Korean leader Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in, who met for the first time on Friday, have pledged to ensure peace, prosperity and the unification of the Korean peninsula.

Pitch for equality

  • The differences between Mr. Kim and Mr. Moon on the question of denuclearisation are evident
  • While Mr. Moon emphasised that complete denuclearisation was essential for peace, Mr. Kim did not utter the “D” word
  • North Korea will seek parity with South Korea in terms of nuclear security and well-being, which is hard to accomplish in the short term.

The Indian template

  • Denuclearisation is key to the whole process as it means different things to different people. North Korea seems to have another model in mind; an Indian model nuclear deal in which it gets recognised as a “technologically advanced responsible state” on the basis of certain strategic assurances.
  • The direct threat that they faced from the U.S., South Korea and Japan must have resulted in the aggressive approach, but now that North Korea has established its nuclear capability, it is inclined to negotiate its way into removing sanctions and shaping its future
  • In fact, it seems to be following India’s choreography in shaping its nuclear policy
  • In a way, Mr. Kim has gone further than India by suspending all missile tests and taking steps to shut down a nuclear test site, to which the U.S., South Korea and China have reacted positively

Upcoming US-North Korea talks

  • S. would be far more reluctant to make any concessions to North Korea without an agreement on denuclearisation
  • The forthcoming negotiations will prove whether the Indian model will help North Korea in restoring peace in the Korean Peninsula and having a cooperative relationship with the U.S. and the rest of the world.
  • Some amount of domestic reform at home, in terms of civil liberties, would help North Korea make its case better
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