As the Trump administration races to prepare for a possible nuclear summit, a central question looms over the diplomatic push: What does North Korea want in exchange for a promise to denuclearize, and what is the United States willing to give?
The query underscores the challenge U.S. officials are facing in the two weeks before President Trump, if all goes as planned, will hold an unprecedented meeting with his North Korean counterpart, Kim Jong Un.
Trump has boasted that North Korea already has made significant concessions, including the release of three American prisoners, without getting anything in return from the United States, although analysts said that having a chance to sit across from the U.S. president would reward Kim by elevating his global standing.
But experts say the key to the North’s willingness to scale back its nuclear program will be the administration’s ability to provide the Kim regime a sense of security, in addition to economic and political incentives.
Speaking to reporters last week, Trump vowed to “guarantee” Kim’s safety under a nuclear deal, saying: “His country will be rich, his country will be hard-working and very prosperous.”
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