Global Zero Responds to Trump-Kim Joint Statement, Calls For Sustained Commitment to Diplomacy

Whether this joint statement is a vision or mirage will hinge on what happens next.

Derek Johnson

Early this morning, Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un released a joint statement outlining a desire for new US-DPRK relations and the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula.”

In reaction to the statement, Derek Johnson, executive director of Global Zero, the international movement for the elimination of nuclear weapons, issued the following comment:

“The Global Zero movement welcomes the stated commitment by both leaders to pursue a new relationship and to denuclearize the Korean peninsula. Even without a substantive breakthrough, the joint statement is a welcome departure from missile tests, schoolyard taunts and threats of ‘fire and fury.’ Yet we must be realistic. Ending North Korea’s nuclear weapons program and bringing peace to the peninsula will require hard work and a sustained commitment to diplomacy and engagement. It will take a patience and persistence to establish the kind of negotiations that can produce actionable steps and tangible, verifiable outcomes.

“At the end of the day, Kim and Trump have committed to a process — and the immediate risk of nuclear war has gone down. Whether this joint statement is a vision or mirage will hinge on what happens next. Now is the time to bring in the expert diplomats to do their vital work. Meanwhile, the world must keep the pressure on the United States and North Korea to invest the time, energy and personnel required to achieve real progress on denuclearizing the Korean peninsula.

“It’s worth a cautious sigh of relief that the President seems to have abandoned, for now, his insistence that ‘talking is not the answer.’ A few short months ago, these two men were dragging the world down a very different path — one that put hundreds of thousands, if not millions of lives at risk.

“Whatever your views on the men in the room, every person on the planet should hope this new dialogue leads to a peaceful resolution to the crisis and an end to North Korea’s nuclear weapons program. A negotiated, verifiable agreement that ultimately unravels North Korea’s nuclear capabilities is squarely in the interests of the American people and the world. Who gets us there is irrelevant.”

In June 2017, Global Zero’s high-level Nuclear Crisis Group released a set of urgent recommendations to avoid the use of nuclear weapons and called on national leaders to act to reduce the unacceptably high risk of nuclear conflict. The report called for the United States and North Korea to begin immediate discussions, without any preconditions, to reduce the risk of conflict and advocated for these immediate steps, which could serve as a roadmap for follow-on negotiations:

  • Refrain from nuclear threats and adopt nuclear no-first-use statements;
  • Suspend flights by US strategic bombers and visits by strategic submarines in return for key commensurate restraints by North Korea;
  • Resume humanitarian assistance to North Korea;
  • Agree not to adopt new sanctions on North Korea;
  • Fully and consistently implement communication links between DPRK and ROK military leaders;
  • Refrain from provocative military actions that could escalate to nuclear conflict; and
  • Reaffirm the September 19, 2005 Six-Party joint statement on denuclearization as part of multilateral negotiations.

Additionally, the Nuclear Crisis Group urged these follow-up steps:

  • Pursue a permanent peace regime;
  • End production/separation of plutonium and highly-enriched uranium under verification;
  • Expand and enhance Track-II discussions by North Korea, the United States, and other regional states;
  • Agree to a non-nuclear deployment pledge for the Korean peninsula from the United States, and North and South Korea;
  • Create UN-endorsed multilateral security guarantees for North and South Korea from China and the United States;
  • Implement progressive sanctions relief and economic assistance in parallel with progress in denuclearization;
  • Suspend US-ROK joint military drills, establish US-DPRK diplomatic relations, and complete economic and energy assistance at the time North Korea’s denuclearization is fully implemented and verified (by the five parties in the Six-Party Talks and the IAEA); and
  • Pursue negotiations to establish Northeast Asia as a nuclear-weapons-free zone.

View the full set of recommendations here:

A full list of NCG members can be found here:

For interviews with Global Zero leaders, please contact Jordan Wilhelmi at 612.281.2310 or by email at [email protected].