News & Politics

Gordon Chang: 85% Chance North Korea Will Promise to Give Up Nukes

Saturday, April 15, 2017. People wave flags and plastic flowers as a float with model missiles and rockets with the words "For Peace and Stability in the World" is paraded in Pyongyang, North Korea. (AP Photo/Wong Maye-E, File)

Asia expert Gordon Chang thinks there’s a very good chance President Trump’s upcoming meeting with North Korean dictator Kim Jong-Un will result in a Kim promise to give up his nuclear ambitions. Chang also predicts that if the United States keeps the pressure on against the Communist regime and its allies, Kim will be likely to fulfill such a promise.

During an appearance on Fox News Sunday morning, Chang — an author, blogger, television pundit, and Daily Beast columnist — told host Leland Vittert that North Korea is at its weakest point since the end of the Korean War.

“Right now, we do know that UN sanctions, U.S. sanctions have severely crippled the regime,” said Chang.

“The money flows are not there. We’ve see, for instance, that Office Number 39 — which is the Kim family slush fund — is running out of cash according to Chinese sources, and South Koreans say that the regime in Pyongyang is not going to have any more foreign currency reserves by October at the current rate of depletion. That’s a real indication that the sanctions are working. And that’s the reason why I think that Kim Jong-Un actually has come to the table right now — because he wants sanctions relief.”

Vittert asked Chang what the chances are that North Korea will promise to give up its nuclear weapons.

“After maybe six months, nine months, that’s an 85 percent chance,” Chang answered.

The skeptical Fox News host asked Chang what he thought the chances were that the Norks would actually follow through on that promise.

“I think it’s actually pretty high, especially if President Trump insists on verification. The only way any deal with North Korea will work is they have no choice but to comply. In other words, that we have the strictest sanction inspections regime on Earth. … We’ve proposed that in the past. We haven’t gotten it in those prior deals including the 1994 agreed framework. If we get it this time, then we can be pretty sure that the Kims will comply because we’ve got inspectors there.”

Vittert, somewhat taken aback, asked Chang what would happen if North Korea reneged on the deal, like they’ve always done in the past.

“If they were to do that, we would then impose the sanctions again and we would probably impose a blockade,” Chang answered. He added: “I’m sure that’s what he [Kim Jong-Un] would like to do … but there are a lot of reasons why he can’t do that — especially if President Trump is going to use all the elements of American power — not only against the North Koreans, but also against their big power sponsors, China and Russia.”

In The Daily Beast Sunday, Chang wrote that it was possible the outcome of talks with North Korea could result in “another bleak, embarrassing moment in the annals of inglorious U.S. diplomacy vis-à-vis Pyongyang.” But he added: “[D]on’t be surprised if the North Koreans, eventually, do the impossible: surrender their most destructive weapons.”

Chang wrote that Kim Jong-Un’s goal is to turn the United States and South Korea against each other. But as long as the Trump administration keeps “the alliance intact and the sanctions air-tight,” North Korea will at some point be forced “to bend in the face of unrelenting pressure.”