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Sam Nunn School of International Affairs Experts React to Singapore Summit
Michael Pearson | June 13, 2018
• Atlanta, GA
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By Michael Pearson
The Singapore summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un was a good start for the international effort to peacefully end North Korea’s nuclear program, but a long and uncertain road remains ahead, according to two Georgia Institute of Technology experts in global nuclear security.
In a joint statement issued at the end of their June 12, 2018 meeting in Singapore, Trump and Kim said North Korea had pledged to “work toward complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” but did not provide any specific details.
Here is what Rachel Whitlark, an assistant professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs and Margaret E. Kosal, an associate professor in the Sam Nunn School of International Affairs, had to say about the summit’s outcome:
Whitlark: “A positive start”
“Certainly, Tuesday’s events are helpful for continuing to ease tensions,” said Whitlark, who specializes in international security and foreign policy decision-making, including nuclear proliferation, counter-proliferation, and military intervention.
“Still, we should see this as the very beginning of a very long and complex process and it’s not clear anything substantive will actually result from it,” she said.
In fact, she said, there’s even a risk that Trump’s surprise announcement that the U.S. would halt joint military exercises with South Korea could force Japan or South Korea to seek their own nuclear force to counter North Korea’s, should a deal fail to materialize.
The decision risks weakening the U.S. position in East Asia, which would allow China to step into a security vacuum there, she said.
“It’s also strange because the North hadn’t been publicly pushing for this recently so it seems to me …