A Joint Vision Statement for Trump and Kim

U.S. President Donald Trump gives a news briefing at the G7 Summit in the Charlevoix city of La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada June 9, 2018. REUTERS/Leah Millis

Trump’s unconventional approach to international relations, especially when dealing with North Korea, means an unconventional outcome is probable on June 12.

1. Decided to respect each other’s sovereignty and undertake steps to fundamentally improve and normalize their bilateral relations in the interests of enhancing peace and security in the Indo-Pacific. As a crucial first step in undertaking a new direction in their relations, neither government will have hostile intent toward the other, and both governments confirmed to make every effort to build a new relationship free from past enmity. The United States affirmed that it does not possess and will not introduce nuclear weapons to the Korean Peninsula and has no intention to initiate an attack or invasion of the DPRK with nuclear or conventional weapons. The DPRK affirmed it will not use force of any kind when dealing with countries including but not limited to the United States, the Republic of Korea and Japan.

2. Agreed that their common goal is the complete elimination of nuclear weapons from the Korean Peninsula in a peaceful manner. The DPRK committed to abandoning all nuclear weapons and existing nuclear and ballistic missile programs and returning, at an early date, to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons and to IAEA safeguards. Directly-related parties will discuss resolving the DPRK’s security concerns whose resolution will be achieved simultaneously with or soon after the dismantlement of the DPRK’s nuclear and ballistic missile programs. As a first step, the United States will modify its defensive, joint military exercises with the ROK by removing its strategic assets from them. The United States will also refrain from designating new sanctions throughout the denuclearization process and will lift existing sanctions proportionate to denuclearization steps taken by the DPRK.

3. Agreed the United States and its allies and partners will provide for and facilitate a brighter, safer and more prosperous future for the DPRK with the complete elimination of its nuclear and missile programs.

4. Decided to peacefully and constructively resolve key security, political, economic and humanitarian concerns perceived by all parties in the region—the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, the United States of America, the Republic of Korea, Japan, the People’s Republic of China and the Russian Federation—and to normalize relations among regional parties.

5. Agreed to work toward constructively reducing tensions on the Korean Peninsula and formally ending the Korean War by replacing the 1953 Armistice Agreement with a peace treaty and permanent peace regime established by directly-related parties at an appropriate time and separate forum. The United States and DPRK, in cooperation with their neighbors, aim to build a better future for all people on the Korean Peninsula, establishing durable peace for coexistence and leading to peaceful reunification led by the two Koreas. The ROK will be among the primary parties involved in peace negotiations.

6. The aforementioned consensus will be implemented with the principle of action for action. Any disputes during implementation will be discussed peacefully and promptly between high-level officials or heads of state with the common goals of resolving any and all disputes peacefully and continuing the expeditious implementation of this vision. The ROK, China, Japan and Russia will participate in facilitating the implementation of relevant components in this vision statement at an appropriate time.

7. The governments of the United States of America and the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea agreed to meet regularly at working-, high- and summit levels, and with other concerned parties, as needed to implement this vision expeditiously.

Some of the language above would be of no surprise to seasoned Korea watchers because they borrow from past agreements including the 2000 U.S.-North Korea Joint Communique and the 2005 Six-Party Joint Statement. Such recycling of key principles and outcomes is inevitable because fundamental bargaining chips and wish lists on both sides have not drastically changed over the decades. The new and ever more complex components now are programs that involve missiles and highly enriched uranium.

It certainly would be preferable if a vision statement outlined a timetable with specific first steps required by North Korea, like an initial down payment, to credibly show its commitment to denuclearization and corresponding U.S. measures. It would still be a success if such measures were specified in a separate document, but it would also be a good outcome if these delicate and highly technical details were negotiated in follow-on meetings. First steps could include many scenarios such as credibly dismantling some enrichment and reprocessing facilities or perhaps even shipping some nuclear weapons abroad in a short period of time as recently suggested by Bruce Bennett. But the trickier part would be providing corresponding U.S. measures that are reasonable and proportionate in Washington’s eyes and satisfactory in Pyongyang’s eyes.

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