When North Korean leader Kim Jong-un vowed “complete denuclearisation” last year, Washington and Seoul offered him an extra incentive to ensure the vow would stick. The allies suspended their major joint military exercises, sparking criticism from hardliners such as John Bolton, the former US national security adviser who warned that Kim was playing games.
Washington and Seoul focused on diplomatic efforts to persuade North Korea to forfeit its nuclear weapons programme. Officials in both capitals offered Pyongyang blueprints to help Kim realise his economic ambitions in exchange for irreversible denuclearisation. Some top diplomats in Seoul have described this unorthodox approach as a measure to “give peace a chance.”
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