Trump's Embarrassing Meeting With Kim at the DMZ
President Trump ended his G20 summit with a side-trip to the Korean demilitarized zone [DMZ]. He stepped into N. Korea and made history as the first sitting President to visit what is essentially a gigantic prison colony. Kim Jong-un appeared gleeful that Trump was again raising his international profile by treating him as an equal rather than a human rights nightmare and mass murderer.
Trump and Kim Jong-un agreed to re-start talks concerning economic sanctions and N. Korea's nuclear weapons program. Talks in Hanoi broke down in February when the two sides couldn't agree on a way forward. Kim has no intention to give up his nuclear deterrent, but he would agree to capping his stockpile in return for substantial sanctions relief. The Trump administration wants complete denuclearization of the Korean peninsula, but that stance has been counterproductive and N. Korea has continued to add to its nuclear arsenal.
New York Times: “At this point I’m not sure what it is that President Trump is trying to accomplish, because while all this engagement has gone on, there has been no decline in the stockpile of North Korean nuclear weapons or missiles; in fact they have increased them,” Joseph Yun, who was the United States special representative for North Korea policy under President Barack Obama and Mr. Trump, said on CNN. “Yes, it’s true that tensions are down, but remember that tensions were built up because of all the fire and fury in 2017.”
Trump and Kim agreed yesterday to start talking again, and if the President is willing to reduce his demands, it's possible that they could make a partial deal which would allow Trump to save face while legitimizing N. Korea as a permanent nuclear power. It's exactly what Kim has wanted from the very beginning and he realizes that with an election approaching Trump desperately needs to show some concrete results from their high profile negotiations.
New York Times: On the other hand, Sue Mi Terry, who served as a National Security Council aide specializing in Korean affairs under both President George W. Bush and Mr. Obama, said it could yield progress if Mr. Trump proves willing to accept a partial accord short of a comprehensive agreement.
“This meeting could lead to a more substantive meeting down the road, later in the year,” she said in an interview. “I do think Kim could offer just enough on the negotiating table such as the Yongbyon nuclear facility plus yet another suspected nuclear facility in order to secure an interim deal with Trump and at least some sanctions relief.”
After the meeting Trump spoke of his special relationship with Kim.
Trump, Washington Post: Trump said it was “my honor” to cross into North Korea.
“A lot of really great things are happening, tremendous things,” he said. “We met and we liked each other from Day One, and that was very important.”
Kim Jong-un is absolutely rolling Trump; distressing, but so very predictable.
By Don Lam & Curated Content