|Former Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok, currently a senior researcher at Sejong Institute, during an interview with Hankook Ilbo on April 17. Korea Times file|
North Korea is expected to take measures to denuclearize within the next two to three weeks following this week's historic summit between Washington and Pyongyang in Singapore, an expert on North Korea said Thursday.
Former Unification Minister Lee Jong-seok, currently a senior researcher at the private think tank Sejong Institute, made the remark during a forum hosted by the institute in Seongnam, just south of Seoul, to analyze the outcome of the Tuesday summit between U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un.
Lee also took a view that the United States, in line with the North's implementation of such measures, will come up with rudimentary steps it could take to ease economic sanctions on the North and normalize its relations with Pyongyang, expecting that Washington and Pyongyang will reveal details not included in the accord released by the two countries after the Singapore summit.
The document called for the U.S. to give the North security assurance and Pyongyang to commit itself to "complete denuclearization."
"Comprehensive as (the document) is, such detailed measures as the dismantling of a missile engine test facility by the North and the suspension of joint military exercises with South Korea by the U.S. are not included in it," Lee said. "It is necessary to monitor the situation a little bit more before determining whether the Singapore summit succeeded or failed."
During the forum, Baek Jong-chun, chief of the institute's board of directors, said, "Including details is out of character with a joint document for the historic summit," referring to a controversy over the Singapore document having no mention of "complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization (CVID)" of the Korean Peninsula, a demand the U.S. has made regarding how Pyongyang will denuclearize.
The Roh Moo-hyun administration set a specific roadmap for inter-Korean reconciliation and development in a 2007 summit with North Korea following the first-ever inter-Korean summit in 2000, Baek said, adding "There was give and take between the leaders of the U.S. and North Korea and there came an agreement that was enough to satisfy us."
The institute's chief, Paik Hak-soon, claimed that "the concept of CVID is about how to implement complete denuclearization and thus the elements of verification and being irreversible are auxiliary concepts under CVID." (Yonhap)