DEAL making Donald Trump has trumpeted his agreement with Kim Jong-un as paving the way for “complete denuclearisation of the Korean peninsula”.
But some observers doubt ultra-secretive North Korea will be prepared to allow foreigners – especially Americans – inside its top-secret plants – let alone strip it of the nuclear weapons that have transformed it into a world power.
If North Korea complies with the bilateral agreement it signed at the Singapore summit, Washington would be the only nation involved in disarming Kim – simply because the agreement is with them and them only.
The US would then dispose of the weapons itself to make sure the job is done and to avoid Kim’s engineers accidentally detonating them.
Trump’s hawkish national security adviser John Bolt says he wants this done at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee.
In any event, US nuclear experts would have to enter North Korea and physically remove the nukes and ship them across the Pacific Ocean aboard US Navy warships.
But given what’s known about cagey Kim and his hermit kingdom, many doubt this will ever happen.
Foreign policy expert Dr Steve Hurst told Sun Online: “It’s highly unlikely that the North Koreans would want to have US personnel actually on the ground to verify denuclearisation.
“Indeed no country is going to be happy to accept this kind of intrusion unless they have no choice, which isn’t the case here.
“So it will almost certainly be the case that the US will have to rely on technical verification measures.”
But at the moment Kim has not agreed to ways of proving he will be true to his word.
Dr Hurst said: “The statement about denuclearization of the Korean peninsula is vague, susceptible to quite different interpretations and doesn’t go beyond what Kim had already said in previous statements.
“There needs to be a much more precise and concrete agreement spelling out exactly what denuclearization would look like before there would be anything to ratify.
“At that stage the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) could be invited to play a role.
“But it is more likely to remain a bilateral agreement between the two countries, as nuclear arms reduction agreements between the US and the USSR used to be, for example.”
The Singapore Summit: What we know so far…
- Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un shook hands as they met on Tuesday at the historic summit
- The pair held secret one-to-one discussions in a private room before emerging 41 minutes later
- The leaders have signed an agreement in which Kim agreed to a “complete denuclearisation of the Korean Peninsula.”
- Speaking of the agreement, Trump said the denuclearisation process would start “very, very quickly”
- Kim said: “The world will see a major change.”
- Speaking at a press conference after the signing, Donald Trump said the Korean war “will soon end” and the denuclearisation process will start imminently
- The US President later said that he trusts Kim Jong-un – but he may later say he “made a mistake”
For now it is an agreement between two leaders and it has not been ratified by the UN.
Trump has agreed to work towards peace – which he says will mean not winding North Korea up with war games on its border.
And Kim has vowed to abandon his country’s decades long pursuit of nuclear weapons.
It’s highly unlikely that the North Koreans would want to have US personnel actually on the ground to verify denuclearization
Foreign policy expert Dr Steve Hurst
But on closer examination it does appear to be a simply a promise to keep talking.
Last month as an apparent act of goodwill, Kim invited foreign journalists to watch his henchmen blow up his Punggye-ri nuclear site – but many suspect it was earmarked for demolition anyway.
In fact some critics believe Kim got what he wanted – respect and legitimacy on the world stage as an equal – without giving anything of worth regarding scrapping his nukes in return.
If Kim did cooperate his weapons would have to be then shipped under the protection of a foreign army and navy to a disarmament facility abroad.
Here it would be hauled by a crane into a special building designed to eliminate the risk of radiation leaks.
Engineers then would begin the painstaking process of delicately removing the warhead and then the mechanism inside that activates the bomb.
Close supervision would be vital to make sure no weapons grade material is stolen.
Once removed, the plutonium can either be reused by power plants and or rendered useless in a “hot-room”before it is stored deep underground forever.
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Meanwhile inspectors would supervise the end of uranium enrichment – the process of making the nuke’s special ingredient – and close the country’s reactors that do it.
But the problem with this is that they can easily be hidden underground and the US is not sure how many there are.
Reactors are also used in power plants that fuel the nation which is already prone to electric cuts because of sanctions which would only be lifted once America was satisfied the job was done.