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Getting Kim Jong-un to agree to a summit with Donald Trump was a major achievement for Moon Jae-in, president of South Korea. It was, for him, a dream fulfilled because he had always been in favor of a unified Korea and the economic situation in the North helped the cause. North was reeling under the sanctions, and Kim Jong-un wanted a way out. Trump seized the opportunity to dangle carrots in front of Kim.

Daily Mail UK reports that the North has agreed to destroy its nuclear site within a fortnight before the summit. It will also dismantle its research and associated facilities. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has dictated the terms and said that these were necessary steps.

The country must move out its nuclear arsenal first prior to the easing of sanctions.

It is a huge task

John Bolton is the president's national security adviser. In his opinion, North Korea will have to get rid of all its nuclear arsenal. The weapons must be dismantled and moved out. Simultaneously the uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing capabilities must be deactivated and the ballistic missiles neutralized and transported to a safe location.

It seems removal of North Korea's nuclear weapons was a pre-condition for the summit between Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un scheduled in Singapore. There will be status-quo on sanctions till such time the North complies.

North Korea has been developing its nuclear weapons and testing them at regular intervals. The performances have been improving as confirmed by external agencies who have been keeping track of the launches.

Kim had gone to the extent of identifying targets in the United States that led to a global panic. He has now realized that he will have to turn over a new leaf to survive and the question is – how much will he concede?

The carrots on offer

Mike Pompeo has already met Kim Jong-un in North Korea to prepare for the summit with Donald Trump in Singapore on June 12. The US has indicated that if the hermit kingdom gets rid of its nuclear arsenal in a permanent and verifiable way, it could expect US assistance to strengthen its economy. It could be in various forms. The objective will be to improve its infrastructure, extend assistance in agriculture and security matters.

South Korea has indicated that Kim is interested in trading his nuclear weapons for economic benefits. However, what finally happens is a matter of conjecture. The North perceives them as its strength and insurance against outside interference to overthrow the regime. Given the changed circumstance, the outcome will depend on Kim’s bargaining powers.