A day after reiterating his commitment to denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un has set out a timeline for the process, saying he intends to get the process done by the end of President Trump’s first term in office.
Kim committed to a denuclearization earlier this year at a summit with South Korea, and a new inter-Korean summit is coming up in mid-September. The next summit is intended to focus on “practical measures” to advance the process.
North Korea is keen to have a peace treaty, ending the Korean War, as part of this process. The Korean War began in 1950, and the US has been resisting efforts to negotiate a peace treaty, saying the deal needs to wait until after denuclearizaiton.
While this has fueled a lot of suspicion, it’s also likely a part of Kim’s interest in getting the process done before Trump’s term ends, as a number of Trump’s critics are opposed to diplomacy with North Korea in general, and might not be interested in a peace treaty at all, even after North Korea gives up the nuclear program.
With a lot of US critics having more or less treated North Korea diplomacy as a dead process, especially after President Trump forbade Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s last visit,. Kim seems to clearly hope, between his announcements and the next South Korea summit, to get the momentum back.