Trump hails ‘diplomatic success’ with North Korea

Trump hails ‘diplomatic success’ with North Korea
The US leader now boasts of his friendly, working relationship with North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un. This comes just one year after President Donald Trump threatened Pyongyang with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.” The relationship between the US and North Korea...

The US leader now boasts of his friendly, working relationship with North Korean strongman Kim Jong Un.

This comes just one year after President Donald Trump threatened Pyongyang with “fire and fury like the world has never seen.”

Background

The relationship between the US and North Korea has always been fractious. During the war between North and South Korea in 1950, US forces successfully intervened on behalf of South Korea.

The North Korean nuclear program has been a source of concern for the US and the international community for decades. North Korea has remained an isolated nation and its nuclear program has especially been a concern for the international community. In 2017, North Korea has launched 23 missiles in the course of 16 tests. In November 2017, North Korea after seemingly two months of silence tested its most potent missile yet.

Trump has taken an aggressive stance while countering North Korea. In 2017, he said that North Korea “will be met with fire and the fury like the world has never seen.” North Korea responded by announcing that plans were underway for it to strike Guam, a US territory. Both Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump were locked in an extended war of words in 2017, with both threatening wars.

This year has seen a reversal in their aggressive stance as both leaders are actively considering the second meeting, much like the one in Singapore in June 2018.

Analysis

Trump told a ra onlly Friday in Springfield, Missouri, that he received a “beautiful letter” two days ago from Kim. But he did not detail what the letter said.

The U.S. leader has claimed a diplomatic win, citing the “tremendous progress” and “great responses” from Pyongyang since he met Kim at a summit in Singapore in June.

The historic meeting resulted in a lofty joint statement, though momentum appeared to have stalled in recent weeks, with the two sides unable to agree on how Kim would get rid of his nuclear weapons.

However, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he hoped for a second summit between Trump and Kim “before too long” to press ahead with efforts to denuclearize North Korea

“There’s still a little bit of work to do to make sure that the conditions are right and that the two leaders are put in the position where we could make substantial progress” toward the denuclearization of North Korea, Pompeo said in an interview with Fox News.

“I’m hoping I’ll be back in Pyongyang before too long to make some more progress,” he said. “And if that’s the case, I’m very hopeful that Chairman Kim and President Trump will get a chance to meet in the near future as well.”

Still, Trump said he won’t rush into any deal with Kim. “Let’s see what happens,” he said at Friday’s rally. “I’m in no rush”.

The developments came after Kim this week welcomed South Korean President Moon Jae-in to Pyongyang.

The North Korean leader agreed to close a missile testing site, giving new momentum to nuclear negotiations with the US, and said the North could dismantle its best-known nuclear facility at Nyongbyon — provided the U.S. takes “corresponding measures.”

Pompeo has said Washington is ready to “immediately” begin negotiating with Pyongyang, and has invited his North Korean counterpart to meet on the side-lines of next week’s United Nations General Assembly in New York.

Counterpoint

Contrary to President Trump’s claim of an absolute diplomatic success, U.S. officials appear to be engaging in a process of limited reciprocal concessions. The Singapore summit agreements imply action for action rather than one party doing everything at once.

Experts praised the positive developments but cautioned much remains to be done, noting the steps Kim has so far taken do not ensure North Korea will get rid of its nuclear weapons.

“Trump still thinks the first (summit) was a major success,” said Jon Wolfsthal, director of the Nuclear Crisis Group.

Trump’s main demand was that North Korea will completely denuclearize, give up nuclear weapons, give up missiles, give up fissile material and destroy its testing sites. All of this was to be completed before the US would be ready to lift the sanctions

Assessment

Our assessment is that North Korea and the US will agree to another meeting but neither party will cede their basic demands. The US is unlikely to lift sanctions before North Korea denuclearizes, whereas North Korea is unwilling to denuclearize before the sanctions are lifted. We feel that a new era may be on the horizon for both the US and North Korea which will be built on a mutual distrust of the status quo.

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