U.S. Expert Considers Possibility of Trump Allowing North Korea to Retain Nuclear Program

Washington – Victor Cha, Korea Chair at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), suggested that it is "not implausible" for former President Donald Trump to consider allowing North Korea to maintain its nuclear program under certain conditions if he is reelected. This scenario would include North Korea halting its intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) launches.

According to Yonhap News Agency, the discussion emerged following a Politico report last month, which proposed that Trump might entertain a negotiation formula where Pyongyang would freeze its nuclear program and stop building new weapons in exchange for incentives. While Trump has labeled the report as "fake news," speculation continues about his potential approach to North Korea's nuclear issue, especially as he seeks a second term in the White House.

At a virtual CSIS forum, Cha elaborated on the idea of Trump potentially accepting North Korea as a nuclear weapons state, contingent on the cessation of ICBM tests towards the United States and the lifting of sanctions to promote responsible behavior. Cha noted that such a policy would be financially less costly for Trump, likely leading to reduced U.S.-Japan-Republic of Korea military exercises, which Trump has criticized for their expense.

Cha highlighted that Trump's foreign policy decisions are often influenced by financial considerations, rather than the protection of values and democracy. The acceptance of North Korea as a nuclear-armed state could significantly impact regional security. Cha pointed out that this development would affect South Korea and Japan's security perceptions and strategies.

Additionally, Cha addressed the growing military ties between Pyongyang and Moscow, predicting that China might feel compelled to strengthen its ties with North Korea. He raised the possibility of a summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un as a strategic response to the closer relations between Russia and North Korea.

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