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As officials from the United States and North Korea prepare for a summit meeting on Tuesday between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, nuclear experts must come to terms with a significant question: If Kim commits to dismantling his nuclear stockpile, how can the world be sure that he is following through?

There is no question that North Korea poses a unique challenge to the nuclear nonproliferation regime; the political context for advancing disarmament globally is very different. Still, the technical aspects of verifying that a nuclear warhead has been dismantled are the same everywhere. Although a consensus on how to reduce global stockpiles of nuclear weapons may be a long way off, it is not too soon to begin preparing for the day when disarmament — in North Korea or elsewhere — is on the agenda.

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