In a history-making move, North Korean Leader Kim Jong Un met with South Korean President Moon Jae-in in South Korea last week. It was the first time a North Korean leader visited South Korean soil since the end of the Korean War in 1953.
History may continue to be made in the near future, as President Donald Trump is expected to meet with Kim at the DMZ later this month.
Charlie Sennott, executive director of The GroundTruth Project, said the renewed prospect of diplomacy is cause for celebration. But he warned that negotiations between North Korea and the United States may end in frustration because of their differing views on what 'denuclearization' would look like.
"What denuclearization means for North Korea and Kim Jong Un is completely different than what denuclearization would mean for the United States," said Sennott.
While the U.S. envisions the dismantlement of the North Korean nuclear weapons program, North Korea envisions something entirely different: No nuclear weapons on the Korean Peninsula, period — including American ones.
"To [Kim], it means no nuclear weapons will be on the Korean Peninsula. Therefore, the U.S. nuclear subs would leave, the U.S. military presence backed by its nuclear weapons would leave. Therefore, we would have — as Kim Jong Un would see it — a denuclearization of the Korea Peninsula," Sennott said.
Sennott said Trump deserved credit for appearing to bring Kim to the table. But because of this ambiguity over what denuclearization will look like in practice, it's unclear what will happen next.
"[Trump's] incredible rhetoric, his threatening of war, his bombastic words that flew in the face of every sense of what is the right tone to have, seemed to have moved the needle," Sennott said. "The question is: Where is it, and where does it go from here?"