Not surprisingly, at a Seoul gathering of North Korea experts and intelligence chiefs from a dozen countries, topic number one was Kim Jong-un. What does he intend? Has he really made the decision to cash in his nuclear weapons for economic development and a place in global society? Or is this just another play for time, one we have seen so many times before? The answer, of course, is unknowable. It will become knowable only as negotiations play out, though we will have some indications early: is he prepared to make a big gesture, like ceasing enrichment, even if monitoring arrangements take some time to put in place.
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Greg Treverton recently returned from a conference in Seoul, South Korea. He is an SMA Executive Advisor and former Chair of the US National Intelligence Council.