From The June 12 Trump-Kim Jong-un Summit (IN10916, June 12, 2018):
The summit highlighted the change from 2017, when escalating tensions between North Korea and the United States led to increasingly tight U.S. and international sanctions and fears of a military conflict. In addition to the reduction of tensions, both sides can point to specific gains that have occurred since early 2018.
U.S. gains include:
- Kim Jong-un’s public statements committing to begin a process of negotiating complete denuclearization;
- North Korea’s moratorium on nuclear and missile testing while dialogue continues;
- North Korea’s apparent destruction in May of its Pyunggye-ri nuclear test site before international journalists;
Kim’s statement that he would destroy a missile test site; and
- North Korea’s release of three U.S. detainees and agreement to restart the POW/MIA recovery program, which the United States suspended in 2005.
DPRK gains include:
- Breaking free from its diplomatic isolation. Following Trump’s March 2018 announcement that he would hold a summit, Kim has re-established friendly relations with China and Russia, and held two summits with South Korean President Moon;
- Boosting Kim’s legitimacy and prestige by using nuclear and missile advancements to obtain a meeting with the U.S. President as an equal;
- Loosening enforcement of sanctions against the DPRK economy;
- An expectation of future foreign investment and economic and energy assistance if it denuclearizes;
- A U.S. promise to provide “security guarantees;” and
- Trump’s announcement of a unilateral cessation of U.S.-South Korean military exercises and his statement that he hopes to withdraw all U.S. forces from South Korea.