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    Pompeo floats private $$$ in North Korea
    Pompeo floats private $$$ in North Korea
    CHINA

    Pompeo floats private $$$ in North Korea

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    by
    Viola Zhou
    Viola Zhou
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    Talk about a peace dividend.

    The US says it is ready to lift sanctions on North Korea if Pyongyang agrees to give up its nuclear weapons - at least those that can reach American soil.  

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said over the weekend that private American companies would be allowed to invest in the reclusive country if Kim Jong-un stops his nuclear program.

    Although Pompeo reiterated the demand of “complete, verifiable, irreversible” denuclearization, he also suggested the bottom line was to get rid of missiles that can hit the US.

    “America’s interest here is preventing the risk that North Korea will launch a nuclear weapon into LA or Denver or into the very place we’re sitting here this morning,” Pompeo said in a Fox News interview on Sunday.

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    “That’s our objective, that’s the end state the president has laid out.”

    This picture released by North Korean state media shows Kim Jong-un and Mike Pompeo meeting in Pyongyang on Wednesday.
    This picture released by North Korean state media shows Kim Jong-un and Mike Pompeo meeting in Pyongyang on Wednesday. Photo: AFP/KCNA

    Donald Trump and Kim are expected to meet in Singapore on June 12 to discuss a deal regarding Pyongyang’s nuclear arsenal.

    During a landmark peace summit in April, North Korea vowed to denuclearize. It plans to close its nuclear test site later this month, which President Trump called “a smart and gracious gesture.”

    But analysts say it is still uncertain whether Pyongyang will agree to give up the existing nuclear weapons it took two decades to build.

    Group 5
    It will be American know-how, knowledge entrepreneurs, and risk takers working alongside the North Korean people to create a robust economy
    -
    Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State

    “The nuclear weapons are a source of great national pride,“ says Ankit Panda, a defense expert and senior editor at The Diplomat. “They serve important roles in the ideology that Kim Jong-un has centered his rule on.”

    “Secretary Pompeo’s language suggests that US would be willing to settle for North Korea’s dismantling its ICBM [intercontinental ballistic missiles], but Pyongyang would still keep its nuclear weapons.”

    South Korea and Japan – both US allies – will still be within reach, if North Korea retains its shorter-range missiles.

    Military vehicles carrying what are believed to be North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missiles are paraded during the "Day of the Sun" festival in Pyongyang in 2017.
    Military vehicles carrying what are believed to be North Korea's intercontinental ballistic missiles are paraded during the "Day of the Sun" festival in Pyongyang in 2017. Photo: EPA

    A robust economy

    Since coming to power in 2011, Kim has embraced a policy of “byungjin,” which refers to the simultaneous development of the economy and the nuclear program.

    Kim declared his nuclear and missile programs complete last month. The possible removal of economic sanctions would be another popularity boost for the supreme leader at home.

    In a CBS interview on Sunday, Pompeo said Washington could help North Korea create economic prosperity that “will rival that of the South.”

    “It won't be U.S. taxpayers,” the secretary of state said. “It will be American know-how, knowledge entrepreneurs, and risk takers working alongside the North Korean people to create a robust economy.”

    Chinese President Xi Jinping also pledged to support North Korea’s economy and enhance cooperation between the two Communist nations when Kim visited China last week.

    North Koreans work at a factory of a South Korean company at the Kaesong Joint Industrial Park on the Northern side in 2013. Seoul shuttered the industrial park in 2016 due to Pyongyang's missile and nuclear tests.
    North Koreans work at a factory of a South Korean company at the Kaesong Joint Industrial Park on the Northern side in 2013. Seoul shuttered the industrial park in 2016 due to Pyongyang's missile and nuclear tests. Photo: AFP

    But Zhao Tong, a nuclear policy expert at the Carnegie-Tsinghua Center for Global Policy in Beijing, says the sweeteners are not enough to get Kim to give up all of his nuclear weapons.

    “The economic and security assurances can be easily reversed, but denuclearization, once it reaches a certain stage, is irreversible,” Zhao says. “North Korea would want to have a nuclear deterrence in case Washington changes its policies.”

    Just last week, Trump pulled the US from a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran negotiated by the Obama administration.

    The president said he would revive economic sanctions on Iran, although the Middle Eastern country had not been found to be violating the agreement which placed controls on its nuclear program.

    VIOLA ZHOU
    VIOLA ZHOU
    Viola is a multimedia producer at Inkstone. Previously, she wrote about Chinese politics for the South China Morning Post.

    VIOLA ZHOU
    VIOLA ZHOU
    Viola is a multimedia producer at Inkstone. Previously, she wrote about Chinese politics for the South China Morning Post.

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