Trump and Kim Jong-un: The State of Denuclearization in North Korea

What does this mean for the security of the United States?


Marwa Chohan '21

Recently, tidbits on North Korea have been circulating through global news. Since the inauguration of Donald Trump, it’s fair to say that relations with North Korea have steadily improved. As of late February/early March, Trump sought relations with North Korean president, Kim Jong-un, in hopes of convincing him to abandon his nuclear program. However, as of March 22, Trump announced that he ordained the removal all North Korea related sanctions, including those targeted at companies that were proven assisting North Korea evade such sanctions. In a tweet posted on Friday March 22, Trump wrote, “It was announced today by the U.S. Treasury that additional large scale Sanctions would be added to those already existing Sanctions on North Korea. I have today ordered the withdrawal of those additional Sanctions!”.  In response to this, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders stated, “President Trump likes Chairman Kim and he doesn’t think these sanctions will be necessary.”

This sudden action has sparked confusion throughout the nation, as no policy or agreement on the denuclearization has been established and with Trump’s announcement. Such prospects seem highly unlikely to ever come into place. However, we must discuss this first: what are sanctions and what do the withdrawal of those sanctions related to North Korea mean for the US? Simply put, sanctions are limitations placed by one country on another. While there are different types of sanctions (i.e. trade sanctions), the general goal is the same: to either change the actions of one country or regulate trade with other nations.

So, how does this affect the US? While immediate effects of this sudden decision have not been laid out as of yet, it is quite possible that the removal of North Korea sanctions could prevent the pursuit of its denuclearization. However, it is imperative to mention that relations with North Korea have improved, due in large part to efforts made by Trump. Regardless, it is the US public still maintains concern that North Korea has staunchly kept  its nuclear program in place. While there are no immediate threats in sight to the US, there also seems to be no publicized plan of action in case of such an event.