North Korea denuclearization could take many years

Talks between US and North Korea leaders Donald Trump and Kim Yong-un are currently on again, and may happen next month, but denuclearization could take many years according to an expert who has toured North Korea’s nuclear plants, Siegfried S. Hecker.

NY Times North Korea Nuclear Disarmament Could Take 15 Years, Expert Warns

As the Trump administration races to start talks with North Korea on what it calls “rapid denuclearization,” a top federal government adviser who has repeatedly visited the North’s sprawling atomic complex is warning that the disarmament process could take far longer, up to 15 years.

The adviser, Siegfried S. Hecker, a former director of the Los Alamos weapons laboratory in New Mexico, and now a Stanford professor, argues that the best the United States can hope for is a phased denuclearization that goes after the most dangerous parts of the North’s program first.

Dr. Hecker’s time frame stands in stark contrast with what the United States initially demanded, on what could be a key sticking point in any summit meeting between President Trump and Kim Jong-un, the North Korean leader.

Center for International Security and Cooperation Stanford University:  A technically-informed roadmap for North Korea’s denuclearization

– Our history study shows that North Korea’s nuclear development has been deliberate and determined, and not primarily predicated on cycles of provocations, appeasement and reversals. Diplomacy has several times slowed or even reversed the program, but never eliminated it. There has been and continues to be a huge trust deficit between the two sides that will almost certainly compel Pyongyang to hedge its bets in any agreed path forward – as it did multiple times over the past 26 years.

– Our experience in dealing with the North has also taught us that retaining a civilian nuclear program and a peaceful space program are of great importance to the North – both for technical and symbolic reasons. Over the past 17 years, the US has considered such civilian activities as covers for military ambitions and has consistently denied these, fearing that such activities would support the North’s military programs. However, this type of risk avoidance instead of risk management has led to several missed opportunities to halt and/or reverse the military programs.

– …we propose a phased risk management approach to denuclearization…The mosaic is meant to provide an overall sense of what’s manageable and what must be eliminated. The phases constitute what might be possible during the first year, the “halt” stage, in years 2 to 5, the “roll back” stage, and in years 6 to 10, the “eliminate” stage. The details are shown in a subsequent chart. Political development will, of course, determine whether or not that time frame can be shortened or lengthened.

– The approach suggested here is based on our belief that North Korea will not give up its weapons and its weapons program until its security can be assured. Such assurance cannot be achieved simply by an American promise or an agreement on paper, it will require a substantial period of coexistence and interdependence

Trump promises and US agreements on paper under Trump’s leadership are not secure assurances. Trump dumped the TPP Agreement (before the US ratified it), forced a renogotiation of NAFTA, withdrew the US from the Paris climate agreement, and withdrew the US from the Iran nuclear agreement.

And Trump seems to shift his position at whim – this may be the art of his business dealing, but it leaves substantial uncertainty in international affairs.

Trump has set expectations of a an immediate denuclearization if he is to do a deal – a deal that on the surface seems very one sided. He may need to compromise if he is to reach any sort of long term deal.


Leave a comment


  1. NOEL

     /  30th May 2018

    “The approach suggested here is based on our belief that North Korea will not give up its weapons and its weapons program until its security can be assured.”

    If the US continues with its I demand denuclearization tomorrow best leave it to South Korea and Japan to negotiate something tangible from all this grandstanding.

    • Alan Wilkinson

       /  30th May 2018

      Suspect Trump is nothing if not flexible. Expect a deal will be struck.

      • But this is unlikely to be done on ‘a deal’.

        If it is going to work it will likely take many years, and even then there will be uncertainty about whether it any deal hold, given the histories of unreliability of both North Korea and Trump.

      • Alan Wilkinson

         /  30th May 2018

        Let’s hold fire till we see. Obviously there is much more than just nuclear weapons on the table. There is the whole future relationship between the two Koreas, China and the US with Russia and Japan as close neighbours. None are happy with the current state so all have incentives to improve the situation.

        • Gezza

           /  30th May 2018

          Bet you Xi’s said in his meetings “Listen Kimbo – you don’t need nuclear weapons. The US protects everyone who crawls up their butt with theirs. Be nice to us & we’ll do the same for you. By the way – do you have anyone who’s good at designing supercarriers?” (Or words to that general effect.)

  2. PartisanZ

     /  30th May 2018

    I should bloody hope it will take many years … if it’s gonna be done properly …

    Imagine how fucking long its gonna take to ‘denuclearize’ Uncle F**King SAM!???

    That’s what those *Dickster* Private Jet Evangelists should be doing …

    • Gezza

       /  30th May 2018

      Those dickster Private Jet Evangelists are too busy making money from the gullible. Having nukes around helps them in that job. You only have to listen to them in that clip to know they believe God gave the US nukes.

  1. North Korea denuclearization could take many years — Your NZ – NZ Conservative Coalition

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