Japan’s worst nightmare?

If there’s any truth to this article in the Chosun Ilbo, Japan should be worried. The article reports that North Korea is alleged to have asked the US at bilateral meetings earlier this month if it would be possible for the US and North Korea to normalize relations without North Korea’s having to give up its nuclear weapons. (Tellingly, North Korea asked for the “India” treatment.)

While the article notes that Christopher Hill nixed the idea, that such an arrangement has been mentioned in US-North Korea bilateral talks should worry Japan, because while the US said no on this occasion, there’s no guarantee that the US won’t soften its opposition in the future. Given the unlikelihood that North Korea will give up the nuclear weapons it already has, the US may ultimately have to choose between an agreement that accepts a nuclear North Korea or no agreement whatsoever.

So how far is the US willing to go to secure an agreement? Aside from the abductions issue, what gaps remain between the US and Japan negotiating positions? Seems like the kind of thing about which Japan and the US should be exchanging opinions and working towards a common position.

Are they?

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