STATEMENT: North Korea Agreement Is Long on Trust, Short on Verification, CAP’s Kelly Magsamen Says

Washington, D.C. — After President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un concluded their summit today, Kelly Magsamen, vice president for National Security and International Policy at the Center for American Progress, released the following statement:

We all want diplomacy to succeed, but it is a means—not an end. We welcome the start of a diplomatic process, but when it comes to North Korea, don’t trust—verify. And this vague agreement is long on trust and short on details and verification. This agreement contains no specific commitments by North Korea and is even less rigorous than either the 1994 Agreed Framework or the 2005 six-party agreement.

Now our negotiators will get to work. Going forward, the United States must keep its eye on the ball and ensure that North Korea takes verifiable steps toward denuclearization. Keeping America and our allies safe, addressing the threat from a nuclear-armed North Korea, and protecting long-term U.S. interests in Asia will be the true benchmarks for success. In this regard, we are deeply concerned about the signal Trump sent by calling our joint alliance defensive exercises “provocative.” This continues Trump’s disturbing pattern of undermining our democratic alliances while praising our adversaries.

It is also important to remember that even if progress is made on the nuclear issue, North Korea remains the world’s worst abuser of human rights. The United States must be clear-eyed about who we are dealing with and not lose sight of the importance of working with the international community to improve the lives of the North Korean people.

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For more information or to talk to an expert, please contact Sam Hananel at shananel@americanprogress.org, or 202-478-6327.