North Korea unlikely to give up nukes

Angus Livingston, AAP Senior Political Writer

North Korea might freeze its nuclear weapons program but is unlikely to give them up because they "work politically so very well", says a global expert.

Professor Richard Tanter, a former chair of the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons, says securing a meeting with Donald Trump was a political win for Kim Jong-un.

But he said it's unlikely North Korea will agree to get rid of its nuclear weapons.

"They may conceivably say 'freeze', but they're not going to give them away, because they work politically so very well," Professor Tanter told AAP on Tuesday, as the two leaders met in Singapore.

"And that makes it even more dangerous, because that's a lesson for other countries."

"You can't use nuclear weapons to deter another country getting nuclear weapons, because the North Koreans worked that out. They called the American bluff."

Prof Tanter says Mr Kim's meeting with the US president will be plastered all over his internal propaganda channels, because it presents him as an equal to his American counterpart.

He also said Australia and Japan, who are among those who have led the push on denuclearisation, could be worried Mr Trump will trade away the strict sanctions they have imposed.

"He's clearly operating on a very transactional basis," Prof Tanter said.

Mr Trump said the meeting went "better than anybody could have expected" after he met with the North Korean leader on Tuesday.