"There's always been the insistence that North Korea not be treated as an equal". "But for me, the first major test will be if the North Koreans agree to let the IAEA or another multilateral combination of inspectors come in", said Suzanne DiMaggio, a senior fellow at New America, a US research group.
"The government of North Korea is tyrannical", said Global Security Institute's Granoff.
"Overall, the Trump-Kim declaration appears weaker than the 1992 inter-Korean agreement, (former president Bill) Clinton's 2000 communique, and the Six-Party Talks statements of 2005 and 2007". Trump, in his turn, reiterated his readiness to provide security guarantees to North Korea.
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"It empowers China and South Korea not only to stop enforcing sanctions but also to return to resuming the generous subvention schemes of the past, when almost US$1 billion (S$1.3 billion) a year would flow from Seoul to Pyongyang's coffers, and considerably more from Beijing".
South Korea is, in some ways, the most technologically advanced economy in the world. "They are so poor their people are dying, and their economy is bad".
According to Christine Ahn, co-founder of the Korea Policy Institute, the role of US troops in the region is to project USA power, challenge China, and make sure pro-U.S. regional governments stay in power. The present round of diplomacy again coincides with stresses in the North's economy. Its Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport in 2017 invited bids on a plan to develop the North's mining industry, power generation and transport infrastructure.
Yet at times like these the question of reunifying Korea looms large. State Department report in 2017, military expenditure accounted for between 13 percent and 23 percent of North Korea's GDP during the years 2005 to 2015.
South Korea is most interested in North Korean mineral reserves.
South Korea's trade volume was $1.07 trillion in 2013, while North Korea reported $7.3 billion. The North Koreans want to keep some nuclear weapons as a deterrent against a USA attack or attempt at regime change. The country's main exports are coal and textiles.
Hinderstein stressed the importance of the United States, the IAEA and other parties addressing Pyongyang's nuclear capability comprehensively to include fissile material production - both uranium and plutonium - and weapons-building infrastructure. But less than a month later, North Korea withdrew from the agreement after the Bush Administration accused Banco Delta in Macau of money laundering, freezing $25 million in North Korea funds.
Life expectancy is 10 years lower in North Korea (69.2 years vs. 79.3 years in South Korea).