Jenkins says no sanity in pretending Trump as trustworthy

TEHRAN, Jun. 30 (MNA) – Peter Jenkins, the former UK Ambassador to the IAEA and the UN says that, “it would be crazy to pretend that President Trump is trustworthy.”

Former associate fellow of the Geneva Center for Security Policy also adds that, “he is probably the least trustworthy president in a US history that is littered with untrustworthy presidents.”

Following is the full text of the interview:

How can the US-North Korea summit improve relationship between the two countries?

It remains to be seen whether the recent Summit in Singapore will lead to a lasting improvement in relations between North Korea (DPRK) and the United States. President Trump, however, having boasted to the American people of his achievements at the Summit, is now motivated to foster the impression of improved relations, at least through to the next US presidential elections in 2020. Chairman Kim has an incentive to abet this endeavors. He can hope that it will lead to the cessation of US/South Korean (ROK) military exercises during this period, a boost to the DPRK economy from ROK investment, some easing of international sanctions, perhaps, an end to President Trump threatening the DPRK with “fire and fury”, and warmer relations between the DPRK and China, since China has been encouraging Chairman Kim to move in the direction of détente with the ROK and to cease provoking the United States.   

Is there an expectation that the summit may lead to North Korean denuclearization and sanctions relief?

Among nuclear policy experts there is a strong reluctance to believe that denuclearization of the Korean peninsula will flow from the Singapore Summit. They have long judged the North Korean elite to be wedded to the possession of nuclear weapons as a guarantee of survival and, more speculatively, as a tool for dividing the United States from the ROK. They recall that in the past DPRK expressions of readiness to denuclearize have been conditional on the United States also denuclearizing, either in East Asia or globally (which at this point in US history is inconceivable), and that to date none of several past DPRK pledges to denuclearize has been honored.

However, to sustain the impression that President Trump wants to foster, and to earn some (albeit probably limited) sanctions relief, Chairman Kim will have to nourish the illusion that this time the DPRK is committed to denuclearizing. How he will do this, apart from maintaining a freeze on nuclear and missile testing, is not obvious. But the ability of good diplomats to drag out intergovernmental negotiations should never be underestimated.

It seems conceivable that Chairman Kim might offer to sign and ratify the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty (CTBT). But the chances are that the United States would discourage this, since DPRK ratification would add to international pressure on the United States to ratify, and President Trump will have no wish for that to happen.

With respect to Trump's withdrawal from the JCPOA, how much can we trust any possible deal between US and NK? Is it possible that the next US president walk away from this agreement too?

It would be crazy to pretend that President Trump is trustworthy. He is probably the least trustworthy president in a US history that is littered with untrustworthy presidents (not least, to be fair, because they have to contend with a Congress that is often bloody-minded). But, as I have implied, his vanity and his desire for domestic popularity have created a situation in which he has good reason to act as a trustworthy partner of Chairman Kim for the next two and a half years at least. If he is not re-elected, or even if he is, the concrete consequences of the Singapore deal are likely to be reviewed, but it is not inevitable that such a review will lead to a return to the days of “fire and fury”.

How can the warming ties between the US and NK affect the Pyongyang's relations with China and Russia?

China appears pleased that Chairman Kim handled skilfully his Summit meeting with President Trump. The Chinese have been opposed to the DPRK’s nuclear weapon program and would welcome the denuclearization of the Korean peninsula.  Although they surely realize that denuclearization remains, almost certainly, a very distant goal, they probably see the nuclear and missile testing freeze, the cessation of US/ROK exercises, and the much reduced risk of the United States being provoked by the DPRK into using military force, as gains. So it is likely that they are rewarding Chairman Kim and encouraging him to “keep up the good work”. (Their long-term objectives are for the DPRK to develop into an economically viable state and for the United States to disengage from the Korean peninsula and, ultimately, from East Asia.)

Russia has publicly welcomed the Summit outcome. The Russians, even more than the Chinese, are believers in the value of the nuclear non-proliferation regime. They share the Chinese hope that, one day, the United States will withdraw its forces from East Asia. So they have reason to be pleased that for the time being Chairman Kim appears set on a course towards denuclearization and reduced reason for the United States to maintain forces on the Korean peninsula, even though they will be under no illusion as to when those goals will be reached, if at all.

Interview by Javad Heirannia

MNA/TT

News Code 135255

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