If Kim wants a more dynamic economy, he needs to gain international credit as well as set up a proper legal system and commercial arbitration, said Robert A. Manning, a senior fellow specializing in security at the Atlantic Council.

That’s where U.S. bargaining power comes in, Manning argued. Washington can facilitate the North’s integration into the global economic system by promising talks with the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank and the World Trade Organization in addition to offering professional training for North Korean lawyers and accountants, he said.

Washington also has leverage concerning Kim’s desire for foreign investment. Offers such as South Korea’s joint transport links and the re-opening of the Kaesong industrial complex can only materialize once U.S. or U.N. sanctions on Kim’s regime are lifted. Otherwise, companies involved in construction could face financial consequences.

To that end, Manning recommended that Trump’s administration “get a new UN Security Council Resolution offering to suspend some UN sanctions corresponding to progress in denuclearization, but with a snap-back provision so if North Korea cheats or fails to implement steps, full UN sanctions are restored.”

However, there is always the risk of any U.S. concession being matched by an underwhelming North Korean response.

The North could make “token concessions on things they don’t really need anymore” such as closing plutonium nuclear facilities or old test launch sites,” warned Sean King, senior vice president of Park Strategies.

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