Post Trump-Kim Summit: What Now?

 Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un shaking hands at the June summit in Singapore.

Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un shaking hands at the June summit in Singapore.

The Trump-Kim summit came with much fanfare and anticipation. The meeting, which took place in Singapore, was the first time leaders from the two countries met in person. After several hours of discussions, the two nations emerged with a joint agreement by which the two nations agreed to work towards denuclearization. The US has agreed to temporarily stop military drills and North Korea has committed to recovering the remains of fallen soldiers from the Korean War.

This was a good start for the two countries, which just a year ago were threatening the region with nuclear annihilation. But as they say, the devil is in the details. Though a commitment to peace and stability is nice, the two countries must work through a number of contentious issues in order to reach peace and stability. Let’s look at where the negotiations are at now and what these negotiations mean to North Korean refugees.

Negotiating Bumps

After a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this month, North Korea said that the US had a “unilateral gangster-like demand for denuclearization.”

It seems that both sides are currently at a virtual standstill in negotiations. The US wants North Korea to denuclearize before they agree to anything. But North Korea wants security assurances before they denuclearize.

This does not mean that the negotiations will fail. We have already seen some surprise twists and turns in the lead up to the June summit and we expect to see some more in the coming weeks and months.

North Korea’s Nuclear Arsenal

North Korea showed promising signs toward denuclearization leading into the June summit. They stopped all missile tests and destroyed a nuclear facility.

But recent reports indicate that, despite North Korea’s pledge to work toward denuclearization, the country is quietly working to confuse the international community about the size and scope of their nuclear arsenal. If North Korea is able to successfully deceive weapons inspectors, there is no way for the world to know if the nation will ever truly denuclearize.

Experts fear that, if North Korea does not make any concrete commitments, time will pass and so too will the precious window to make a deal.

North Korean Refugees

You would think that North Korean refugees around the world would not want to go back to their homeland. This is the homeland that has betrayed them, according to their accounts. This is the homeland that many refugees associate with suffering and sorrow.

But most do want to go back if the current regime falls. Like most refugees, North Koreans identify strongly with the people and culture of their country. They have escaped to freedom and truth and many want the same for their countrymen.

The refugees in our network have expressed guarded excitement at the prospect of the talks between the US and North Korea. They feel that change can occur but that change would be extremely difficult to achieve.

We are living in a time where that change is possible, however remote. We know that ultimately, our hope is not in people but in God. We will continue to pray for change in North Korea.