Sunday, April 29, 2018

One Meeting Down Between North-South Korea: One to Go Between Kim and Trump

Historical Meeting at Neural UN Village in Panmunjom (DMZ) 
(Kim, Jong-un and Moon, Jae-in) 

Introduction: North-South Korean three main issues: (1) No nukes, (2) officially end the Korean War, and (3) and one Korea – that is reunification of North and South. Sticking points – and, mostly from the Trump side – to wit in the main story from the LA Times:

Top aides to Trump have signaled skepticism about North Korea's reported pledge to give up its nuclear weapons in exchange for conditions including an American promise not to attack it militarily. (Related from the NY Times).

But as preparations moved ahead for a face-to-face encounter between Trump and North Korea's leader Kim, Jong-un, the officials insisted that Trump's unconventional diplomacy had already yielded greater achievements than his predecessors could claim in reining in the North's rogue nuclear and ballistics program.

Trump's national security advisor, John Bolton, said Kim's seemingly conciliatory rhetoric was not being accepted at face value, and indicated that no easing of sanctions against North Korea would take place until there was a commitment to full denuclearization.

Crediting American pressure with nudging North Korea along, Bolton said on Face the Nation that the Trump administration would demand evidence that Kim's pledges were “real and not just rhetoric,” adding; We've heard this before. The North Korean propaganda playbook is an infinitely rich resource.”

Then on Fox News Sunday (April 29th) Bolton said: “Nobody is starry-eyed about the North following through on promises.”

(My View of Bolton: He wants to push North Korea into military action so he can later say: “See I told you so” just like he did about the WMD hoax in Iraq as he now pushes hard to invade Iran and solve the “nuclear issue” – Bolton is a sick dangerous man and he has the background and rhetoric to prove it).

Ironically, Bolton’s comments came after South Korean officials were quoted as asserting that Kim, Jong-un had dangled the prospect of giving up his nuclear weapons when he met last week with his South Korean president Moon, Jae-in in the truce village of Panmunjom.

Kim, Jong-un historical quote: “Once we start talking, the United States will know that I am not a person to launch nuclear weapons at South Korea, the Pacific or the United States.”

Then as proof, Kim offered to allow in experts and journalists from the U.S. and South Korea to witness the shutdown of the North's only known nuclear testing site (says Yoon, Young-chan, a South Korean presidential spokesman in the Yon-hap News Agency).

In his talks with Moon, Kim also sought to dispel the notion that the promise to shut down the nuclear testing site under Mount Man-tap was an empty gesture because it had become too unstable to use anyway after the North's sixth and most powerful nuclear test to date, in September.

President Moon's spokesman Yoon also said: “Some say that we are terminating facilities that are not functioning, but you will see that we have two more tunnels that are bigger than the existing ones, and that they are in good condition.” 

(Note: Earlier this month, North Korea said it had suspended its nuclear tests, along with ballistic-missile tests, and announced plans to shut down the test site).

In the meeting with Moon, Kim insisted he did not want to threaten the United States or anyone else, according to the South Korean presidential spokesman. While the two leaders talked of working toward “complete denuclearization of the Peninsula,” their meeting yielded no agreements on verification, or set any timetable for steps toward that end.

At South Korea's presidential palace (the Blue House) said Kim wants a U.S. commitment to bringing a formal end to the Korean War. The 1950-53 conflict ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty, so the two sides technically remain in a state of war.

Another Kim, Jong-un historical quote: “If we maintain frequent meetings and build trust with the United States and receive promises for an end to the war and a nonaggression treaty, then why would we need to live in difficulty by keeping our nuclear weapons?” (He said in response to a rhetorical question).

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was still the CIA director when he met with Kim over Easter weekend, played down concerns that Trump's meeting with Kim, planned to take place in May or June saying it could be knocked off track if the president follows through on threats to withdraw the U.S. from the landmark nuclear accord with Iran saying: “I don't think Kim, Jong-un is staring at the Iran deal and  saying:“Oh goodness, if they get out of that deal, I won't talk to the Americans anymore” then he added: “This administration has its eyes wide open. We know the history. We know the risks. We're going to be very different – we're going to negotiate in a different way than has been done before.”

Trump himself has dismissed critics' concerns that in agreeing to the sit-down meeting with Kim without preconditions, he was offering a murderously dictatorial regime an enormous boost in prestige and he said in a Tweet: “Things are going very well, time and location of meeting with North Korea is being set.”

More of this article continues at the LA Times link.

My 2 Cents: Will this Trump “Art of the Deal” have an outcome better for both Koreas, the world in general with n more nuke rogue nations, or simply be another “con” by Trump to get what he wants for Trump and no one else? Related post here (at my other blog) – and also more two posts below this post.

Only time will – but at this stage both Kim and Moon deserve strong credit and not Trump by himself as he recently bragged in a speech in Michigan, which is his standard routine flair for bragging rights to get all the credit for himself. A lot of credit also goes to Chinese President Xi for his pressure on Kim, Jong-un. 

But, let’s be clear; a lot is on the proverbial table and the onus is on Trump to take a deal or in fact make a deal to be both strong and worthwhile.

But keep in mind that Trump and Bolton both talk tough and rough compared to how Kim, Jong-un sounds – Kim actually come across as more honest and rational than Trump and Bolton combined. 

We will have to hold our collective breath and see.

Thanks for stopping by.

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