The US and Russia have been historically separated by strong political contradictions. However, the Trump-Putin summit in Helsinki is a step towards a more collaborative relationship, mainly because the two sides achieved a consensus on the denuclearisation of North Korea.
Why Is North Korea’s Denuclearisation Important
North Korea’s current nuclear reserves are estimated at 30-60 warheads or about 0.4% of all nuclear weapons in the world. A hundred times as great forces, of some 7,000 and 6,800 warheads respectively, are possessed by Russia and the US.
Why so much ado about North Korea’s nukes then?
The main reason is that no other government threatened to use its nukes as often as North Korea’s leaders did, starting in 2006 when the first nuclear bomb was tested by this Communist state. No other country has stayed so profoundly isolated from the system of mutual agreements holding the rest of the world together while building its nuclear power.
The only more-or-less similar case is that of Iran. Although this Islamic state never threatened to drop nukes on its neighbours and might not have any nuclear missiles at all, its refusal to denuclearise was paid by heavy Western sanctions and even deeper economic isolation.
In September 2017, North Korea tested a missile that can transport a nuclear warhead over 13,000 kilometres, a range covering virtually every country on the globe. As North Korea is not part of any treaty binding its signees to preserve peace and refrain from using nukes, this military advancement added to the concerns that global powers already have about this country’s nuclear programme.
Considering what scope of destruction can be brought even by a single and relatively small-capacity nuclear missile, it is pivotal that every state is held accountable for the uses to which its nuclear reserves may be put.
The final goal of the policy advanced by the leaders of developed world is getting rid of all nuclear weapons on the globe. The denuclearisation of North Korea is a significant first step in this direction.
What Is Russia’s Position on North Korea’s Denuclearisation?
Russia has been repeatedly accused of violating sanctions that were imposed on North Korea because of its refusal to abandon the nuclear programme. In particular, Russia allegedly supplied oil and fuel to the isolated peninsula state, although Russia’s government formally denied that.
In early 2017, Russia spoke up against the oil embargo of North Korea suggested by the US. According to Sergei Lavrov, Russian Foreign Minister, excessively stringent sanctions could destabilise North Korea’s economy and provoke this state into aggressive actions. Sharing the aim of encouraging North Korea to get rid of its nukes, Russia still insisted on adopting softer tactics for this purpose.
During the US-Russia summit in Helsinki, Putin expressed satisfaction with what was achieved by Trump in the historic meeting with Kim Jong-un in Singapore. In the Singapore summit, which was the first ever meeting between a sitting US president and a North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un declared a commitment to denuclearisation and Trump promised to provide safety guarantees to North Korea. This compromise makes the prospects of denuclearisation more real. Besides, an agreement between Russia and the US on the denuclearisation of North Korea opens the way to reaching better understanding on other issues, such as the Syrian or Ukrainian conflicts.
What Are the Possible Gains of North Korea’s Denuclearisation?
Currently, North Korea’s economy is almost completely isolated, which results in extreme poverty of its people. A successful denuclearisation, followed by alleviation of sanctions, will encourage an inflow of FDI to this country.
The integration of North Korea into the global political system will probably result in greater governmental effectiveness, better enforcement of human rights and control over corruption in the country. These changes will also attract FDI and ultimately increase national wealth and living standards.
In short, the denuclearisation of North Korea can open a way to prosperity to this peninsula state and enable its seamless integration into the global community. The agreement recently achieved by the US and Russia on the denuclearisation strategy is a big step towards achieving its purpose and also to a warm-up in the relations between these two global powers.
Anna Clarke is the owner of online writing company 15 Writers. She is a successful entrepreneur with over 20 years’ experience in both freelancing and academic writing industries, specialising in Business, Economics, Finance, Marketing and Management.