Trump praises Korean summit with caution
Trump praises Korean summit with caution
International

Trump praises Korean summit with caution

Pennews

US President Donald Trump has taken credit for what has happened in Korea — with leaders of the North and South agreeing to the denuclearisation of the peninsula — but the US President has acknowledged the deal could still fail to deliver peace to the region, according to the ABC News report.

At a White House news conference with German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Trump basked in the afterglow of the feel-good meeting between Kim Jong-un and South Korean President Moon Jae-in and said he had a responsibility to try to achieve peace and denuclearisation.While preparing for his upcoming meeting with the North Korean leader, he said the US would not be "played like a fiddle" as it has been in previous negotiations."When I began, people were saying that was an impossibility, they said there were two alternatives — let 'em have what they have or go to war," he said.
"And now we have a much better alternative than anybody thought even possible."And if I can't do it, it'll be a very tough time for a lot of countries and a lot of people. It's certainly something that I hope I can do for the world."[But] we are not going to be played, okay. We are going to hopefully make a deal, but if we don't that's fine."

New Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who as then-CIA director met Kim four weeks ago in North Korea, told reporters in Brussels that he got the impression the North Korean leader was "serious" about negotiating on denuclearisation because of the Trump-led economic pressure campaign."Our objective remains unchanged. We are committed to achieving permanent, verifiable, irreversible dismantling of North Korean's weapons of mass destruction programs without delay," he said."Until then the global maximum pressure campaign will continue."

But Pompeo added a word of caution: "I am always careful. There is a lot of history here. Promises have been made, hopes have been raised and then dashed." Trump must contend with two nagging suspicions: first about his own suitability to conduct that kind of war-and-peace negotiation and succeed where his predecessors have failed; secondly, whether North Korean leader Kim Jong-un really is willing to give up the nuclear weapons his nation took decades acquiring."It is still unclear whether North Korea still believes that it can have its cake and eat it too," said Victor Cha, who until January had been in the running to become Trump's choice for ambassador to South Korea.

Cha said that while the atmospherics of the inter-Korean summit got an "A' grade, the meeting had failed to clarify whether Kim was willing to give up his nukes or is interested in just freezing his programs in return for sanctions relief and economic and energy assistance.The joint declaration between North and South Korea is remarkable, but how will an agreement be enforced and will Donald Trump accept anything less than a complete denuclearisation?

While Moon and Kim pledged to seek a formal end to the Korean War by year's end and to rid their peninsula of nuclear weapons, they did not specify how it would be achieved.And now the pressure to deliver results, at least on the allies' side, has shifted to Trump."There will be a suggestion that the South Koreans have tied it up very well for him and he's not going to have the option of walking away in a huff," said Christopher Hill, who was the lead US negotiator with North Korea under the George W Bush administration.North Korea has already called a halt to nuclear and long-range missile tests, which has helped dial down tensions significantly.

Hill said the key hurdles for the Trump administration would be to set a timetable for denuclearisation and overcome North Korean reluctance to allow a verification process — a failing of past aid-for-disarmament deals. North Korea was hit with unprecedented economic restrictions during a feverish 2017 when the US and North Korean leaders traded threats while Kim pushed his nation to the verge of being able to fire a nuclear-tipped missile at the US mainland.

The diplomatic climate has changed dramatically this year, as Kim ended his international seclusion, reaching out to South Korea, the US, and China. Defence Secretary Jim Mattis said the US was "optimistic right now that there's an opportunity here that we have never enjoyed since 1950" and any progress will be up to the diplomats. He was referring to the year the Korean War broke out.

The fighting, which also involved China, halted three years later after hundreds of thousands of lives had been lost, through the declaration of an armistice, not a peace treaty.

That has left the peninsula in a technical state of war for more than six decades. North Korea's state news agency called the inter-Korean summit a turning point, saying the two sides had agreed on a common goal of a "nuclear-free" peninsula."At the talks both sides had a candid and open-hearted exchange of views on the matters of mutual concern including the issues of improving the north-south relations, ensuring peace on the Korean Peninsula and the denuclearisation of the peninsula," the North's KCNA said, reporting that the night wrapped up with a dinner with an "amicable atmosphere overflowing with feelings of blood relatives".

North Korean state media made rare mentions of the denuclearisation discussion in their coverage of the summit, but did not go into specifics, instead highlighting the broad themes of peace, prosperity, and Korean unity.While North Korea's main state newspaper published a multi-page spread with photos from the visit, South Korean media were replaying striking scenes of the two leaders a day after the meeting. UNI

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