When planning to negotiate with North Korea as to their acquisition of nuclear ICBMs or not, you must include China and Russia.
This is critical if the rest of the world does not want North Korea to obtain nuclear weapons. This will also be very difficult to enforce over the long haul.
Today in China the Chinese Congress just voted to allow Xi Jinping to be President for as long as he lives.
This returns China back to the days of Mao Zedong who was President of China from 1949 to 1976. Mao was the last President that was voted as President for life. What does this mean for our relations with China? Well it means that China will now have consistent leadership in place for at least the next decade or more. It means that Xi Jinping will meet at least one more President after President Trump leaves office. It means that he must be a big part of any treaty with North Korea. He will have to insure that China will enforce the treaty, because North Korea will do as China wishes as has been vindicated with the recent announcement of Kim’s willingness to negotiate.
Why would Xi want to do this? Well, the main reason is the close proximity to North Korea. God forbid a nuclear confrontation was to break out, but if it did, China would likely suffer from exposure to nuclear fallout. The human tragedy also weighs heavily on the minds of Chinese leadership in that they would be inundated with North Korean refugees should war break out. I assure you the only reason more North Korean’s have not already left their country now, as a result of the sanctions, is their fear of death if they try. At some point, starvation will overcome the fear of death and they will try anyway. I suspect this is what has brought Kim Jon UN to the negotiating table. He knows he is on the edge of a complete loss of control.
Now we must talk about Putin. Putin, as I previously wrote, cares nothing about law, right or wrong or human tragedy. One need look no further than Syria to see this, where he has allowed Assad to use chemical weapons on his own people. Putin cares only about Putin and Putin’s goals. Putin’s ties with North Korea are a major problem for any treaty because there is not too much anyone can hold over Russia to make them abide by, and help enforce any treaty. They are physically far from North Korea so they will not be affected by any confrontation. Their main trade with North Korea is Russian weapons and technology for North Korean labor, which is sad in and of itself. Simply put humans for weapons.
For Putin to help with North Korea it would take cooperation from Europe and again China. Both Europe and China have extensive trade with Russia. This would have to be leveraged against Russia to get Putin to enforce any treaty banning North Korean development of nuclear weapons.
I am very proud that President Trump has gotten us further than any other American President toward preventing North Korea from obtaining ICBMs. This has made the whole world safer. Kim Jon UN is a mass murdering sociopath who would have no problem using these weapons. Appeasement will not work with a sociopath and President Trump knows this.
Setting up this agreement for long term enforcement will be difficult. Trump must consider this going in so he can hopefully negotiate a deal that will last after he is out of office. He must include provisions that will not allow his replacement to easily weaken or damage this accord.