Looking ahead to the Moon Jae-in - Donald Trump summit meeting next week, I tried to craft a deal that would be the first step toward North Korea's denuclearization, with South Korea-managed inter-Korean economic projects as the centerpiece:
A plausible deal aimed at North Korea’s denuclearization can look like the following: North Korea would freeze all production of long-range missiles and fissile materials, dismantle Yongbyon, and allow U.S. inspectors on the ground to ensure compliance. Pyongyang would also host a U.S. liaison office, which could look after the safety of the U.S. inspectors. In exchange, the United States would grant exemptions to South Korea-led joint economic projects, declare the formal end of the Korean War, and host a North Korean liaison office in Washington. As U.S. inspectors identify additional nuclear facilities in North Korea and oversee their dismantlement, the United States would gradually normalize the relationship with North Korea and ease sanctions on a snapback basis. The end result, in the best-case scenario, would be to have the denuclearized North Korea be another version of Poland or Vietnam—a former enemy that is now a U.S. security interest.
Moon Jae-in is the Grown-Up at the Table [Foreign Policy]
I have been slow with the blog as I had to prepare a large paper for the conference "Moon Jae-in Government and Korea Peace Process" hosted by Yonsei University, and the FP article above distills the central point of the big article I wrote for the conference. With the diplomats and experts at the conference, I have been stress-testing the deal above, and am pleased to say it was met with near-unanimous approval.