By Javad Heirannia

Unlikely North Korea dismantle its nuclear capacity: Hunter

July 1, 2018 - 11:19

TEHRAN - Shireen Tahmaasb Hunter, a professor of political science at Georgetown University, tells the Tehran Times that that “It is unlikely that North Korea would dismantle its nuclear capacity.”

“Better relations with America would improve North Korea's bargaining position vis a vis China, as it would become less dependent on Beijing economically and otherwise,” Hunter tells the Tehran Times.

Following is the text the interview:

Q: How can the U.S.-North Korea summit improve relationship between two countries?

A: The meeting between American president and the leader of North Korea has already helped improve relations. Unlike only a few month ago the two sides are not hurling insults at each other or threatening a nuclear war. America has also cancelled joint military maneuvers with South Korea which is pleasing to North Korea. The question is whether this improvement will continue and expand to the other areas such as economic and trade.

Q: Is there an expectation that the summit may lead to North Korean denuclearization and sanctions relief?

A: It is unlikely that North Korea would dismantle its nuclear capacity. However, it could reach an agreement with the U.S. not to target either regional states or the mainland America. The Congress has said that it will monitor the process very carefully. Many in Congress insist on total denuclearization which would be hard for North Korea to accept. This insistence could scuttle future agreements.

Q: With respect to Trump's withdrawal from JCPOA, how much can we trust any possible deal between the U.S. and NK? Is it possible that the next U.S. president walk away from this agreement too?

A: Iran and North Korea are totally different cases. There is strong opposition among U.S. hawks to any compromise with Iran. Israel and the Persian Gulf Arab states also insist on a hardline American policy towards Iran. America's allies in East Asia don't want confrontation with North Korea, whereas Iran's neighbors and Israel welcome a hardline policy on Iran and possibly even military confrontation. Therefore, if a solid agreement is reached between America and North Korea it is unlikely that the U.S. would walk away from it.

Q: How can the warming ties between the U.S. and NK affect the Pyongyang's relations with China and Russia?

A: Better relations with America would improve North Korea's bargaining position vis a vis China, as it would become less dependent on Beijing economically and otherwise. The same would be true in the case of Russia.  By improving relations with America, North Korea would not endanger its relations with Moscow or Beijing, but it would expand its options.
 

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