“South Koreans may be eating well and have more material things, but that is only because they are depending on the American imperialists, currying favor with them and getting their leftovers,” Ms. Kim said, describing a typical North Korean line.
In remarks to reporters after a meeting on Thursday in New York with Kim Yong-chol, one of Kim Jong-un’s most trusted advisers, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized the security that the North could derive if it agreed to denuclearize.
“Many conversations have been had about how we might proceed,” Mr. Pompeo said, “what the path might be forward so that we can achieve both the denuclearization that the world demands of North Korea and the security assurances that would be required for them to allow us to achieve that.”
Invoking the possibility of a secure and prosperous future, Mr. Pompeo made clear that the United States is looking for the “complete, verifiable, and irreversible denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” a formulation to which North Korea has yet to agree.
To change his mind, analysts say, Mr. Kim must be persuaded of a few things: that the country, and Mr. Kim himself, will be safe without nuclear weapons; that it can control the terms of economic engagement so it strengthens rather than weakens the regime; and that Mr. Kim can present any deal as a victory for self-reliance rather than a cry for economic help.
“It’s like trying to convince a devout Christian that the pathway to enlightenment and eternal life is to abandon Jesus for something else,” Mr. Pinkston said. “It’s that profound.”