I don’t think these current measures are sufficient.
I think they’re designed to try to improve the atmosphere as we get closer to a summit, but I don’t think the closing of punggye-ri is a particularly significant development,


Well, I think the demolition of that facility is not about denuclearization. I think it’s about the fact that that facility is obsolete.
So I think it’s an environmental problem that is being solved by closing the facility, but it is not about the process of denuclearization. After all, it’s just a collection of tunnels.


But I think there needs to be an understanding that IAEA needs to play a role, needs to return to the country, needs to take charge of a denuclearization process, and if IAEA is not there, I think it sends a signal that maybe they won’t be there in the future.



I think if you’re able to have a real process of inspection, a real process of verification, you can deal with the threat that NK might try to reconstitute facilities elsewhere. So I think that is a problem.
I think it’s very difficult to make something irreversible if you still have scientists who have the know-how.



Well, I must say I find it very unusual to have the American president be the first negotiator in this process, and the problem with having the president do it is what happens after the president?
Can you go up a level? No, you can’t, you’re already at the top level.


But of course, I’m very concerned and very skeptical about whether meaningful progress can be achieved.


I think putting all those comments together amounts to some concern about whether they are serious about attending the talks, and if they attend, whether they’re serious about really denuclearizing.


I think right now we are probably dealing with a proposition that’s less than 50%.



I think NK has not stated clearly its willingness to denuclearization. It has stated clearly a willingness to discuss nuclear weps in the talks, but I think it’s very unclear what their intentions are. I think it’s also pretty clear that President Trump does not plan to give them any sanctions relief or can I say, security relief as well until they are  denuclearization. So I think we are a long way yet from any real agreement.


First of all, I think NK has made more progress with its nuclear programs when there are no talks than when there are talks.
So I don’t mind that there are going to be talks. The concern I have is that the talks are at the most senior level, that is the level of the president, and I don’t see yet any clear signs that these talks are going to be successful.


I think the worst thing would be to go into the summit without any idea of what the other side is really prepared to do, and that appears to be the situation today. 


Now whether that’s enough for NK is hard to say because I am not convinced at this point that NK is prepared to give up its weapons in any kind of time frame that we would find acceptable.




I would be very concerned, deeply concerned if any solution or if the way forward of denuc includes the idea of reducing US forces. I think that would be very unwise, and I think it’s important to make clear the NKs that if they are not belligerent toward SK, if they have no intention of invading SK or otherwise causing security problems on the Korean penin, they have nothing to worry about from American troops.




My advice to Trump’s admin is rather than criticize President Obama, President Bush, President Clinton, my advice is rather than criticize those three presidents in the media, he should be calling up each of those presidents and asking for their advice.
This is a very big issue. This is an issue that has been around almost 50 years at this point, and I think the best American foreign policy is one in which a President is asking the right questions of the right people and I would hope that he will do that with his 3 predecessors.


(インタビュー:FNN ワシントン支局 瀬島隆太郎