With a second Trump-Kim summit coming up late in February, the
administration is high on the chances for progress. North Korea is also
upbeat, saying they want peace with the US and normal relations.
US Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats is undermining this, however, by insisting that the intelligence assessment is that North Korea will never denuclearize as they promised, and are only ever going to give up parts of the program for “key US and international concessions.”
This seems tailor-made to derail the Trump Administration’s efforts, as the key angle of these next talks in North Korea wanting some concessions in return for continuing with denuclearization, and the Coats assessment will likely prevent Trump from making such concessions.
It is the administration’s fear that any concessions to North Korea would be attacked that has greatly harmed the process, as since the first summit, the US has actually increased sanctions and other pressure on North Korea, just to prove that North Korea isn’t getting anything in return.
North Korea, however, is getting sick of not getting anything in return, and increasingly afraid that by the time they comply with all US demands, they won’t have any leverage left to ensure the US comes through with peace deals.
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