Pyongyang has pledged to suspend its nuclear enrichment, but it won't last.
One of countless propaganda posters that plastered North Korea shortly after the country's leadership accelerated its nuclear program. A caption, out of frame, reads "Ruthless Punishment to U.S. Imperialism!" / AP
North Korea has pledged to halt its nuclear enrichment, nuclear tests, and long-range missile tests, which is great news. Pyongyang's nuclear program is one of the world's most dangerous threats: it risks an accidental nuclear war, raises the possibility of a conventional war, and destabilizes one of the most militarized and densely populated regions in the world. A mere gesture from Pyongyang toward cutting this program makes everyone on Earth a bit safer. And all we had to do was promise some food aid for North Koreans, which is worthwhile in its own right.
But this is not a permanent solution to North Korea's nuclear program. Even if Pyongyang does live up to the deal, they will almost certainly start the program back up in a few years. North Korea has pledged to shut down its nuclear program before, and sometimes even followed through, but they always start it back up. North Korea shut down its program in 1994 when they signed the "Agreed Framework," then revealed in 2002 that they had restarted it. They agreed in 2005 to a new deal to de-nuclearize, but the country ignored it and proceeded anyway. In between, there have been countless ups and downs, moments when Pyongyang made concessions or opened to inspectors, only to later push the inspectors out or test long-range missiles.