Sputnik: How have relations been between the north and the south since the missile test in 2016?
James Dwyer: They've stabilized quite remarkably in the last two weeks, culminating in the meeting between the leaders. It's been quite a development. It's very hyperbolic to say so, but a lot of people have been saying that we've been witnessing history in the making when we saw both leaders stepping over the border in the demilitarized zone. It has been a lot friendlier than it has been in the last few years when tensions have skyrocketed over nuclear tests and missile tests. They have exchanged fire several times across the border. Things have calmed down a lot, and very quickly, although I am sceptical about North Korea's intention.
Sputnik: What do you mean when you say you are ‘sceptical’ of North Korea’s intent?
James Dwyer: They play these games where they escalate tensions quite rapidly and quite heavily. Pushing the boundaries of what they can and can’t do. And then they strike a more conciliatory tone, saying 'we will calm down and stop military tests if you release some of the sanctions.' This generally tends to happen. The US and South Korea tend to wind back economic sanctions in exchange for moves from North Korea, and then it all just happens again. They have been doing this for the last 10 years, so it’s probably a bit too early to say this is a new remarkable era of peace. It just seems to be what North Korea does. They escalate, then wind back, and then escalate again.
Sputnik: What was the overall sentiment regarding the outcome of the summit?
James Dwyer: It's very much and wait see — I don’t want to put a dampener on things because it certainly is promising. I certainly don’t think they are going to denuclearize though. One of the things that has been mentioned, that a lot of people are getting excited about is Kim Jong-un saying he's willing to completely denuclearize, in exchange for guarantees that the US won't attack them. That’s just not going to happen. They have tried this before in 2008. They made a big symbolic gesture, by destroying one of their calling towers for one of their nuclear production facilities. They are now making the same noises about the nuclear test facility. It sounds great, but it’s just not going to happen. North Korea won’t denuclearize now that they’ve got a nuclear capacity.
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