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To the North Korean Foreign Ministry, trust is paramount, and it comes primarily through building better relations. In its statement, the Kim government denounced Pompeo for pressing North Korea to disclose the various elements of its massive nuclear-weapons program and begin dismantling them in a manner that international inspectors can verify. Trump and Kim signed the same four-point joint declaration in Singapore, but whereas Trump tends to tout Point 3, the one concerning denuclearization, the Foreign Ministry’s statement focused on the first and second points, which deal with establishing a new relationship between the two nations and a “lasting and stable peace regime on the Korean peninsula.” The Foreign Ministry argued that a speedy declaration of the end of the Korean War—perhaps occurring as early as later this month, on the anniversary of the signing of the 1953 armistice—would be a “first” step in “defusing tension” and “creating trust.” It exaggerated the moves the North has made so far on denuclearization, such as blowing up a nuclear-test site and promising to demolish a missile-engine test site without committing to verification of the destruction by independent experts.
In my conversation with Cho, who maintained that Kim may indeed be serious about giving up his nuclear weapons in exchange for economic development and security guarantees, the ambassador argued that parallel...
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