What U.S.-North Korea negotiations might look like, simulated

“North Koreans don’t negotiate the way we do," one expert said.

by VICE News
Jun 12 2018, 7:31pm

The historic summit between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un is over, and one of the few substantive points to come out of their joint statement is “follow-on negotiations" between Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and a “high-level” North Korean official.

They’re supposed to occur at the “earliest possible date” and move toward a bland goal: to “implement the outcomes” of the Singapore meeting.

But what do those early rounds of diplomacy look like for negotiators on both sides? To figure that out, VICE News asked four experienced American diplomats to simulate a real negotiation.

“The North Koreans don’t negotiate the way we do,” explained Gov. Bill Richardson, a former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. In the simulation, he’s representing North Korea. “They don’t believe in concessions or compromises.”

Joining Gov. Richardson to represent the North Korean side was Ambassador Joseph DeTrani, who, in real life, served as Special Envoy to North Korea for the six-party talks starting in 2003.

On the other side, Ambassador Bonnie Jenkins, a former coordinator for threat reduction programs at the State Department, negotiated for the U.S. So did Ambassador Robert Gallucci, who was the chief negotiator with North Korea during the 1994 nuclear crisis.

The four experts showed that when it comes to denuclearizing a peninsula, every word matters.

This segment originally aired June 11, 2018 on VICE News on HBO.