Jump to content
webfact

Trump says summit removed North Korean nuclear threat; Democrats doubtful

Recommended Posts

Trump says summit removed North Korean nuclear threat; Democrats doubtful

By David Brunnstrom

 

2018-06-13T183634Z_2_LYNXMPEE5C07F_RTROPTP_4_NORTHKOREA-USA.JPG

U.S. President Donald Trump and North Korea's leader Kim Jong Un hold a signing ceremony at the conclusion of their summit at the Capella Hotel on the resort island of Sentosa, Singapore June 12, 2018. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

 

SEOUL (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday that North Korea no longer poses a nuclear threat and his top diplomat offered a hopeful timeline for a "major disarmament," despite scepticism at home that Pyongyang will abandon its nuclear weapons following this week's summit.

 

Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un issued a joint statement after their historic meeting in Singapore on Tuesday that reaffirmed the North's commitment to "work towards complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula" and gave U.S. guarantees of security to North Korea.

 

Democratic critics in the United States said the agreement was short on detail and the Republican president had made too many concessions to Kim, whose country is under U.N. sanctions for its nuclear and weapons programs and is widely condemned for human rights abuses.

 

Just over half of Americans say they approve of how Trump has handled North Korea, but only a quarter think the summit will lead to the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, according to a Reuters/Ipsos opinion poll released on Wednesday.

 

North Korea's state media hailed the summit as a success, including highlighting Trump's surprise announcement after the meeting that the United States would stop military exercises with South Korea, which the North has long sought.

 

Despite the lack of detail in the summit agreement, Trump stressed at a news conference afterward that he trusted Kim to follow through. He returned to Washington early on Wednesday and hailed the meeting, the first between a sitting U.S. president and a North Korean leader, as a major win for American security.

 

"Everybody can now feel much safer than the day I took office," Trump tweeted. "There is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea. Meeting with Kim Jong Un was an interesting and very positive experience. North Korea has great potential for the future!"

 

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who is charged by Trump with leading follow-on negotiations, said the United States hopes to achieve "major disarmament" by North Korea within the next 2-1/2 years.

 

Democratic lawmakers pointed out that North Korea has often made similar statements in the past about "denuclearization," all the while developing nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles that could be capable of striking the United States.

 

'MISSION ACCOMPLISHED'?

"One trip and it's "mission accomplished," Mr. President? North Korea still has all its nuclear missiles, and we only got a vague promise of future denuclearization from a regime that can't be trusted," said Adam Schiff, the top Democrat on the U.S. House of Representatives Intelligence Committee.

 

"North Korea is a real and present threat. So is a dangerously naive president," he wrote on Twitter.

 

Senator Chris Van Hollen, also a Democrat, said of Trump's tweet about North Korea no longer presenting a threat: "This is truly delusional."

 

The summit statement provided no details on when Pyongyang would give up a nuclear weapons programme or how the dismantling might be verified. Sceptics of how much the meeting achieved pointed to the North Korean leadership's long-held view that nuclear weapons are a bulwark against what it fears are U.S. plans to overthrow it and unite the Korean Peninsula.

 

Speaking to reporters on a trip to Seoul, where he went to brief South Korean officials, Pompeo was asked if he would like to accomplish major nuclear disarmament within Trump’s current term, which ends in January, 2021. He replied:

 

"Oh yes, most definitively. Absolutely ... you used the term major, major disarmament, something like that? We're hopeful that we can achieve that in the 2-1/2 years."

 

The United States has long insisted on complete, verifiable and irreversible denuclearization by North Korea, but in the summit statement, North Korea committed only to the “complete denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula,” phrasing it has used in the past.

 

North Korea has often rejected unilateral nuclear disarmament, instead referring to the denuclearization of the peninsula. That has always been interpreted in part as a call for the United States to remove its "nuclear umbrella" protecting South Korea and Japan.

Pompeo bristled at a question about why the words “verifiable” and “irreversible” were not in the summit joint statement, in the context of denuclearization.

 

“It’s in the statement. You’re just wrong about that... Because complete encompasses verifiable and irreversible. I suppose you could argue semantics, but let me assure you that it’s in the document,” Pompeo said.

 

Pressed on how the agreement would be verified, he said:

 

“Of course it will...I find that question insulting and ridiculous and frankly ludicrous.”

 

'SAVE A FORTUNE'

Despite Trump's assertion about the North Korean nuclear threat being over, a senior U.S. official responsible for studying the North Korean military said the U.S. intelligence assessment of the nuclear and other military threat posed by North Korea to U.S. and allied forces and bases in Asia and the northwest Pacific remains unchanged.

 

Such assessments are changed only on the basis of visible or other changes in a nation’s military state, such as the movement or elimination of weapons or troops, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

 

In a post-summit announcement that appeared unexpected even to South Korea's President Moon Jae-in,Trump said on Tuesday the United States would stop military exercises with South Korea while North Korea negotiated on denuclearization.

 

"We save a fortune by not doing war games, as long as we are negotiating in good faith - which both sides are!" he later wrote on Twitter.

 

U.S. Republican Senator Lindsey Graham called the cost reasoning "ridiculous," telling CNN, "It's not a burden onto the American taxpayer to have a forward deployed force in South Korea."

 

"It brings stability. It's a warning to China that you can't just take over the whole region. So I reject that analysis that it costs too much, but I do accept the proposition, let's stand down (on military exercises) and see if we can find a better way here."

 

The United States maintains about 28,500 soldiers in South Korea, which remains in a technical state of war with the North after the 1950-53 Korean War ended in a truce rather than a peace treaty.

 

There was some confusion over precisely what military exercises Trump had promised to halt.

 

The U.S.-South Korean exercise calendar hits a high point every year with the Foal Eagle and Max Thunder drills, which both wrapped up last month. Another major exercise is due in August.

 

(Reporting by David Brunnstrom in Seoul; Additional reporting by John Walcott, Susan Heavey and Mary Milliken in Washington and Chris Kahn in New York; Writing by Alistair Bell; Editing by Frances Kerry)

 
reuters_logo.jpg
-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-06-14

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

North Korea has made these promises many times before, going back to at least 1985.  When push comes to shove, Kim's game is his own survival.  He's young and presumably wants to die a natural death.  Even if he wants to modernize his country along the Chinese model, he needs a game plan that keeps him alive and in charge the next 50 years.  It's not easy being a dictator.

 

Trump offers full normalization, but is that what he and the clique around him wants?   It's a risky scenario where things could quickly spiral out of control and he finds himself in front of a fire squad, a lynch mob, or is assassinated in a coup.  Even if just for his self-preservation, this will stay a brutal regime not acceptable by international norms.  

 

Most likely he's just buying time again, giving other countries like China an excuse to weaken enforcement of sanctions, while he makes minor economic reforms.  As long as he has nuclear weapons, other governments will have no choice but to kick this can down the road.  

 

 

 

 

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, DoctorG said:

It is certainly too early to be proclaiming success stories but Trump has at least opened the possibility of success, something no other POTUS has managed.

Sad to see Dems in Congress complaining that there is no detailed agreement when this is in fact an important first step.

Don Lemonhead and CNN "experts" are doing their usual belittling rants, so no surprises there.

And of course there's downside to the President of the United States committing his prestige to a preliminary discussion, the kind of think usually reserved for anonymous diplomats. He's now on the hook for a successful outcome. Unlike the leaders of China and North Korea, Trump has an electorate to answer to. Other Presidents had the basic common sense not to put themselves in this position. 

As for your "possiblity of success" comment. At the times actual detailed signed agreements were previously concluded, was there no "possibility of success." Your statement is just another way of saying that no one can predict the future. That's a very slender reed to hang your expections from.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 minutes ago, bristolboy said:

And of course there's downside to the President of the United States committing his prestige to a preliminary discussion, the kind of think usually reserved for anonymous diplomats. He's now on the hook for a successful outcome. Unlike the leaders of China and North Korea, Trump has an electorate to answer to. Other Presidents had the basic common sense not to put themselves in this position. 

As for your "possiblity of success" comment. At the times actual detailed signed agreements were previously concluded, was there no "possibility of success." Your statement is just another way of saying that no one can predict the future. That's a very slender reed to hang your expections from.

 

In your first paragraph what you see as a weakness I see as a strength . There are no risk free returns in this world anymore.  As for the "possibility of success", who knows?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, lannarebirth said:

 

In your first paragraph what you see as a weakness I see as a strength . There are no risk free returns in this world anymore.  As for the "possibility of success", who knows?

Really? So Trump will have no incentive to lie about the results of negotiations. He's already lying about the inspection process. And he'll have no incentive to accommodate hostile interests elsewhere? If Trump was actually extremely knowledgeable about the situation, you might have half a point here. But it's clear he's utterly ignorant. Given his lifelong practice of promoting his own immediate interests without regard to those of the community, you actually believe this is a good thing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Posted (edited)
4 minutes ago, bristolboy said:

Really? So Trump will have no incentive to lie about the results of negotiations. He's already lying about the inspection process. And he'll have no incentive to accommodate hostile interests elsewhere? If Trump was actually extremely knowledgeable about the situation, you might have half a point here. But it's clear he's utterly ignorant. Given his lifelong practice of promoting his own immediate interests without regard to those of the community, you actually believe this is a good thing?

 

As you describe it, no that wouldn't be a good thing. I'm thinking more about what has been committed to paper and what the immediate follow up on that will be. Obviously it is an evolving situation. If there's pushback within this first month or two we'll know that this was an exercise in futility, but I remain somewhat hopeful as SK and Japan become more involved.

Edited by lannarebirth
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, lannarebirth said:

 

As you describe it, no that wouldn't be a good thing. I'm thinking more about what has been commited to paper and what the immediate follow up on that will be. Obviously it is an evolving situation. If there's pushback within this first month or two we'll knoiw that this was an exercise in futility, but I remain somewhat hopeful as SK and Japan become more involved.

I don't know what basis for hope there is based on the document that was signed. Just vague generalities that commit no one to anything apart from further talks. And there was a report in the LA Times that Trump asked North Korea to reach an agreement by 2020 so he could use that for the general elections. North Korea balked. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2 minutes ago, lannarebirth said:

 

In your first paragraph what you see as a weakness I see as a strength . There are no risk free returns in this world anymore.  As for the "possibility of success", who knows?

So Trump's strength is to heap praise on and trust a vicious dictator and mass-murderer to get rid of his nukes? Kim, as his father and grandfather before him, doesn't give two hoots about the people of NK, his only interest is to stay in power for as long as he can.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28 minutes ago, bristolboy said:

I don't know what basis for hope there is based on the document that was signed. Just vague generalities that commit no one to anything apart from further talks. And there was a report in the LA Times that Trump asked North Korea to reach an agreement by 2020 so he could use that for the general elections. North Korea balked. 

 

Trump specifically said he wanted a certain date to be used for electioneering? Or is it that 2020 is a nearby future date anyway?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
25 minutes ago, rudi49jr said:

So Trump's strength is to heap praise on and trust a vicious dictator and mass-murderer to get rid of his nukes? Kim, as his father and grandfather before him, doesn't give two hoots about the people of NK, his only interest is to stay in power for as long as he can.

 

As much asI can I try not to let my feelings about process get in the way of substance. Obviously there will be limitations to that way of thinking. Anyhow, here we get to see the ugly process first without seeing if it will lead to substantive success. That calls for patience and forebearance. Something in short supply on the World Wide Web.  BTW, when I saw I am hopeful, I still place chance of success at less than 50%. I am hopeful nevertheless.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

BANGKOK 25 June 2018 09:10
Sponsors
×