Atoms for Pyongyang

Let North Korea Have Peaceful Nuclear Power

Military trucks drive through downtown Pyongyang in preparation for Kim Il Sung's birthday, April 2017. Damir Sagolj / Reuters

Earlier this month, U.S. President Donald Trump said that “under the right circumstances,” he would meet with North Korean President Kim Jong Un, who continues to increase his nation’s nuclear arsenal. With the recent election in South Korea of President Moon Jae-in, who campaigned for renewed negotiations between the two Koreas, the circumstances might indeed be just right.

Kim Jong Un has repeatedly stated that he wants the same thing North Korea’s previous leaders—his father, Kim Jong Il, and grandfather Kim Il Sung—wanted: first, assurance that North Korea won’t be invaded again, and second, electricity for economic development to replace the hydropower capacity the United States destroyed with massive strategic bombing in the first years of the Korean War, which was fought from 1950 to 1953. These were the two demands North Korea made, and the Clinton administration agreed to, in 1994, when North Korea pledged to

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