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US Seeks to Eradicate North Korea's Military Threat

Change of wording indicates worry that North Korea may seek to use the summit as a delaying tactic to allow it to reactivate its nuclear projects

By Han Bingbin Updated May.16

The US’s biggest concern is that North Korean leader Kim Jong-un will use the upcoming meeting with US President Donald Trump to create a time window for itself to reactivate its nuclear projects later, said Zhuang Liwei, head of Southeast Asian studies at Jinan University in Guangdong Province, writing for news portal The Paper.  

The US has recently changed its principles for North Korean denuclearization from CVID (complete permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement) to PVID (permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantlement), replacing “complete” with “permanent.” Zhuang said he believes it has to do with the recent leak from Iran of over 100,000 nuclear-related documents, some of which contain information about key nuclear technologies.   

It means the US would require North Korea to destroy not only its nuclear facilities, but also technical data, the scholar said. In addition, the US is targeting all of North Korea’s weapons of mass destruction, meaning the summit will also cover biochemical weapons and ballistic missiles.  

Even after the US raised the price, Kim still agreed to meet with Trump because he knows the key to security lies in the hands of the US, Zhuang said. North Korea will likely make small compromises under the PVID principles, he predicted.  

The meeting became possible because there are currently overlapping interests between the US and North Korea, Zhuang said. For Trump, success at the meeting would not only enhance US global leadership and boost Republican chances in the upcoming mid-term elections, but also likely win Trump a Nobel Peace Prize.