With another summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un scheduled for February 27-28 in Vietnam, the potential dismantlement of North Korea’s Yongbyon Nuclear Scientific Research Center looms as a first step towards denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. In his September 2018 Pyongyang summit meeting with South Korean President Moon Jae-in, Kim expressed his willingness to dismantle Yongbyon if the United States took corresponding measures. The dismantlement would still leave North Korea with a nuclear weapons stockpile and the ability to produce additional weapons based on the production of highly enriched uranium (HEU) elsewhere. But it would represent an important step towards denuclearization since it would end the North’s production of plutonium and hinder the overall production of HEU.
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