Will North Korea Denuclearize?

The Asia Foundation and UC Berkeley Center for Korean Studies & the Institute of East Asian Studies

Doe Library, Room 180, UC Berkeley, South Hall Rd, Berkeley, CA 94704

September 12, 2019, 4:30 pm EDT to 6:00 pm EDT

After the failure of Hanoi U.S.-North Korea summit held in February this year, the impasse between the two countries seemed irreversible. Washington wanted a “big deal” on North Korean nuclear weapons; Pyongyang insisted on a “small deal” first.

President Trump said after the break-up that North Korea wanted too much (“complete lifting” of sanctions) and offered too little (only dismantling Yongbyon nuclear facilities). In response, North Korea charged the United States acted like a rogue asking for everything and not offering much.

Then, the two leaders met again for the third time at Panmunjom on June 30th and agreed to hold working level meetings to resolve the differences. So what is likely to happen now?

There is a good possibility of North Korea and the United States reaching a compromise agreement that looks like a big deal and that includes the first installment of a smaller deal.

Why is such a compromise deal a likely outcome? If the deal is made, will it denuclearize North Korea? What is the implication of such a deal for the security situation in the Korean Peninsula?


Han Sung-Joo is a Professor Emeritus at Korea University. Prof. Han previously served as the Minister of Foreign Affairs (1993-94), UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative for Cyprus (1996-97), a member of the UN Inquiry Commission on the 1994 Rwanda Genocide (1999), Chairman of the East Asia Vision Group (2000-2001), Ambassador of the Republic of Korea to the United States (2003-2005), and Acting President of Korea University (2002, 2006-2007). He is currently serving as the Chairman of the Board, Asan Institute for Policy Studies.

Prof. Han is a graduate of Seoul National University (1962) and received a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Berkeley (1970). Previously, he taught at City University of New York (1970-78) and was a visiting Professor at Columbia University (1986-87) and Stanford University (1992, 1995). He was also a Distinguished Fellow at the Rockefeller Brothers Fund (1986-87).

His English publications include Korean Diplomacy in an Era of Globalization (1995), Korea in a Changing World (1995), and Changing Values in Asia (1999). He has many publications in Korean, including Nam Gwa Puk, kurigo Sekye (The Two Koreas and the World) (2000).

View Original Invitation.