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Local experts discuss U.S.-North Korea summit

On NHK’s “Nichiyo Toron” Sunday debate show, six Japanese scholars exchanged views on the upcoming Singapore summit between President Trump and DPRK leader Kim Jong Un, with most of them projecting that no firm agreement is likely to be reached on complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization (CVID) other than a verbal commitment from Kim to relinquish his nuclear programs in a phased manner. Keio University Professor Watanabe said the President may settle for a pledge by Kim to immediately halt nuclear and missile tests and suspend the operation of related facilities as a first step toward CVID, adding that the two sides may agree to open liaison offices in their respective capitals. Ryukoku University Professor Li said the two leaders may not be able to agree on the scope, speed, and method of denuclearization as Kim appears determined not to relinquish his nation’s existing nuclear weapons. Waseda University political scientist Nakabayashi voiced concern about what she referred to as the President’s conciliatory line, wondering if the U.S. leader, cognizant of the paramount difficulties in realizing swift denuclearization, may be tempted to issue a declaration ending the Korean War to tout a historic diplomatic achievement. Several experts noted that such a declaration would prompt China and South Korea to ease the economic pressure on Pyongyang.

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